Govt plans national centre to coordinate ops against LWEs; first time since 1989, incidents of Maoist violence below 500

  • The Central Government is planning to create a National Coordination Centre (NCC) which will function as a databank on Maoists' core strongholds and cadres, and as a synergy point for intelligence gathering and anti-Maoist operations

  • The NCC will also utilise the experience and knowledge of retired police officers who have served in anti-Maoist operations in areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh

  • The joint platform will also help security forces to counter the Maoist strategy of using one state for action and another for escaping and seeking shelter

New Delhi: Since the situation has significantly improved this year with effective tackling of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), the government is planning to create a National Coordination Centre (NCC) which will function as a databank on Maoists' core strongholds and cadres, and act as a synergy point for intelligence gathering and anti-Maoist operations.

The NCC will also evolve a well-formulated strategy for all security agencies to counter the support received by Maoist leaders and sympathisers on social media. According to the documents reviewed by Firstpost, the NCC will also utilise the experience and knowledge of retired police officers who have served in anti-Maoist operations in areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

 Govt plans national centre to coordinate ops against LWEs; first time since 1989, incidents of Maoist violence below 500

Representational image. AFP

“The coordination centre will also work with states to identify the sources of finance and other logistics support of Maoists to neutralise the network. The DGP of affected states has been asked to initiate the action in a time-bound manner. The policing should be strengthened to instil a sense of security and safety amongst the inhabitants of Maoist-affected areas, along with inclusive development, to enhance its public outreach so as to uproot the movement of Maoists where efforts are being made to revive it,” the documents said.

The number of Maoist-affected police stations has significantly come down in comparison to the situation 10 years ago and the number of police stations affected with violence has also gone down from a peak of 465 police stations to 250. The geographical spread of Maoist violence and dominance has reduced considerably in the last five years. The documents noted that first time since 1989, the number of violent incidents was less than 500 and the annual figure for 2018 stood at 354 incidents. There was also a significant decline in the number of casualties among civilians as well as security personnel, while the number Maoists killed has gone up in the last three years.

“All India Kill Ratio, which depicts the number of Maoists cadres killed for every death of security personnel become more than one for the first time in 2015, and the trend has continued since then. The main theatres — southern areas of Chhattisgarh, parts of Jharkhand and Andhra-Odisha border region require a sustained operation. Dandakaranyaka region, particularly the three districts of south Bastar — Bijapur, Dantewada and Sukma — remains the most formidable stronghold of Maoists as also their main recruiting ground. South Sukma is the operating area of Battalion No 1 of Naxalites which has an estimated strength of 150 armed cadres,” the documents said.

In Jharkhand, the target of security and intelligence agencies are 'Burha Pahar in Garhwa and Latehar districts, Saranda forest in district West Singhbhum and Parasnath Hills in Giridih district. Areas adjoining districts of Bihar, particularly Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui and Lakhisarai, are being treated as a prospective base area by the Maoists leaders.

“The core areas pose a significant challenge of generating intelligence due to a number of factors such as sparse population, limited communication network, banning of mobile phones by Maoists cadres and fear among locals due to merciless public execution of locals who were killed on mere suspicion of being alleged police informers. An integrated approach and active contribution of government agencies in a coordinated manner is important in defeating this challenge. Since the increasing age of the senior leaders of the outfit is a matter of concern for Maoists — it was affecting their mobility — enhanced security forces operations in the core areas of the outfit will effectively disrupt their supply chain,” the documents said.

For Bijapur, Narayanpur and Sukma, a combined area of more than 6,000 square kilometres, there were only 50 mobile towers and such a scenario affected the operational ability of security forces and more mobile phone towers would increase the flow of intelligence from the core areas. Observing that the outreach to locals and winning their trust is an essential component of the fight against Maoists, the documents said, limited public support in the areas facing security and administrative vacuum remained the biggest challenge.

Efforts are being made to address the administrative vacuum in certain areas and 20 camps and two police stations were established in south Bastar last year. As far as Maad region is concerned, the security forces are involved in occupying the peripheral area to carry out operations. The Andhra-Odisha border region is contiguous to the stronghold of the outfit in the south Sukma and the inaccessible cut-off region of district Malkangiri in Odisha. Continued exploitation of inter-state boundaries by the Maoists formations is a matter of concern. The proposed coordination centre could help in combating the exploitation of inter-state boundaries and take steps to improve the morale and motivation of the troops. Similarly, it will work with the Indian Institute of IED Management to analyse various types of IEDs used by Maoists. It has been suggested in the documents that there was a need for joint operations of Odisha Police and Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds force in the cut-off area of Malkangiri, given the reconsolidation by Maoists following a series of losses suffered by the outfit since October 2016.

“The forces need to concentrate on various tri-junctions of LWE-affected states that are used by Maoists as golden triangles to cross over and take shelter so that the same could be checked. The joint platform developed for this purpose should work towards real time information sharing, coordination and joint action between different states as well as central forces to counter the Maoist strategy of using one state for action and another for escaping and seeking shelter,” the documents noted.

Updated Date: Oct 09, 2019 19:06:13 IST