Saturday, April 14, 2007

Indian security forces to target Maoist leaders

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Government policy of annihilating the Maoist leaders would be criminal. - Prakash singh (former director general BSF )

Indian security forces to target Maoist leaders

Rattled by unabated attacks by Maoist guerrillas, security forces are wondering if they should kill the long underground leaders of a four-decade-old insurgency that shows no signs of ending.

The home ministry has convened a series of meetings in south Indian city of Hyderabad to review the existing strategy that clear is not proving effective enough to tackle the rebel violence, IANS reported.

The most dramatic Maoist offensives in recent times have included a major attack on a Bihar jail, the assassination of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Sunil Mahto and the slaughter of 49 policemen and militia members in Chhattisgarh.

Following the Hyderabad meeting Friday would be similar conferences in Patna April 16 and in New Delhi April 24.

Attending these meetings would be members of the Anti-Naxal Task Force and the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG).

An anti-Maoist Coordination Center meeting chaired by new Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta will be held in New Delhi April 24.

Informed sources said the ministry would take a fresh look at its counter-Maoist strategy and examine the feasibility and efficacy of the new doctrine to fight the rebels by increasing the number of security personnel in the affected areas.

The officials will also examine the feasibility of accelerating development work in the areas where the Maoists operate, drawing to their cause thousands of poor and landless workers.

Maoists, whose rebellion started in India in May 1967, are most active today in states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

They have refused to give up violence despite appeals from Maoist leaders in Nepal with whom the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has had long-standing fraternal links.

The meetings would also look at steps to strengthen security to irrigation works in Bihar.

One suggestion put up by some security forces that they need to 'target' the Maoist leaders -- an official euphemism for killings as was done systematically in Punjab in the 1980s.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has suggested that targeting prominent leaders would leave the Maoist cadres rudderless.

Additionally, by eliminating key leaders, the security forces hope to spark a leadership tussle among the cadres so as to further undermine the guerrillas, whose fighting strength is estimated at a few hundreds.

The home ministry also favors improving intelligence gathering in Maoist-infested areas to be one step ahead of the guerrillas.

The government's strategies would get finishing touches at these three meetings


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