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Left-wing extremism targeting new states to carve out base: Panel

Deepak Razdan | New Delhi |

Left-wing Extremism (LWE), facing strong challenge from security forces in their eight-state spread, has been targeting new states and trying to carve out a base on the junction of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates revealed on Monday.

Examining the performance of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in meeting internal security challenges, the committee said there was decline in violence in the LWE-affected states, after deployment of security forces was increased. But the LWE militants’ entry in the three new southern states was “disturbing.”

So far, left wing extremists have been known to be active in the Naxal-affected states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Telangana. Only on 13 March, nine CRPF personnel were killed when their vehicle was blown up by Naxals in Chhatisgarh’s Sukma district.

The Home Ministry has been supplementing states’ efforts to face the LWE challenge through deployment of Central security forces, development projects, improving connectivity of roads, distribution of title deeds to tribals under the Forests Rights Act, and by opening banks, post offices and schools in the affected areas.

The Committee on Estimates, headed by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, has asked the Home Ministry to ensure the existing policy was earnestly implemented and there was coordination among the CAPFs, intelligence agencies and the states where LWE was opening fresh bases.

The LWE has been funding its work by collecting “levies” from government works and schemes, industry and business and membership fee.

The committee was informed that the biggest threat in the LWE areas was improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

A lot of casualties took place due to laying of mines and the non-availability of technology to detect them. The government should seek DRDO help in this, the committee said.

Deprecating the states’ tendency to utilise Central security forces for day-to-day law and order work, the committee noted that CAPF deployment in the states had gone up from 91 battalions in 2012-13 to 119 in 2016-17.

This could affect the CAPFs’ anti-insurgency and border guarding operations. While BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles and Sashastra Seema Bal guard borders, CRPF helps civil administration.