‘Befitting reply’ to Maoists if forces are attacked: Rajnath

''Befitting reply'' to Maoists if forces are attacked RajnathNEW DELHI: Ruling out talks with Maoists, Government today said forces will give a “befitting reply” if they are attacked and announced that it will fully fund the formation of elite commando force in states to deal with the menace.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who met top civil and police brass of ten states affected by Left Wing Extremism, told them that enough funds will be provided to equip and modernize their respective police forces.

“There is no question of any talks now. We will take a balanced approach. But the forces will give a befitting reply if the Naxals launch attacks,” Singh told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting.

A Home Ministry official later said talks with the Maoists will be held only if they shun violence and come forward for a dialogue.

Chief Secretaries and DGPs of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and chiefs of paramilitary forces like CRPF and BSF and top officials of the Home Ministry attended the meeting.

The new Home Minister was briefed by each of the states about the Maoist menace in their respective areas as Singh spelled out the priorities of the NDA government.

During the meeting, the Home Minister asked all states to adopt a uniform and concerted approach to tackle the Maoist movement. The states assured him of their full support to the central government’s initiatives in this regard, the official said.

The government made it clear to the states that any attack by the Maoists should be retaliated effectively even as it asked the states to allocate more funds for new projects in the affected areas.

Singh said that the Home Ministry will fully fund formation of special forces on the lines of the elite anti- Naxal force Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and initially such squads will come up in the four states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar.

The nearly four-hour long meeting also decided that the central government will micro-manage the ongoing road construction works in Naxal-affected states for their better and time-bound completion.
The Home Minister said the government will make all efforts to resolve the Maoist problem and will do its best in a balanced manner through administrative leadership and political commitment, according to a Home Ministry statement.

He said the central government will respond positively to the suggestions of the states in overcoming this problem in a coherent and cohesive manner.

There will be better coordination between the Centre and the states through the confidence and commitment of all concerned.

During the meeting, the Home Minister mentioned that the projects relating to road and telecom connectivity through mobile towers should be taken up on a priority basis.

Singh also asked the state governments to designate their nodal officers for better coordination with the central government and other states.

He said young, bold and courageous district magistrates and superintendents of police may be posted in initial years of their posting in these areas to provide better local administration and leadership.

The surrender and rehabilitation packages may be revised to make them more attractive for militants and Jan Militia cadres, the statement said.

The Home Minister said he is fully convinced that a coordination and concerted approach will help in finding a solution to the Maoist problem.–PTI