The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wake-up call for Centre

New Delhi, Oct. 2: The attack on chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu would, perhaps, make the Centre consider more seriously the dangers posed by Left-wing extremist outfits.

The threat posed by Naxalites has been low on the home ministry’s list of priorities as it has been preoccupied with cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and radical Islamic groups across the country.

“Hopefully, this (attack on Naidu) will be a wake-up call for all concerned to take the issue of Naxalite violence seriously,” said a senior official keeping tabs on radical Left groups.

“The entire establishment is so focused on Pakistan-backed terror groups that there is little time or energy to devote to the serious threat posed by various (radical) Left groups in states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand,” the official added.

The Centre has been more or less content to allow states to deal with Left extremism as most of these outfits’ activities are confined to areas they control and their impact is felt locally.

“They have been quietly creating havoc in the areas they control. But even the press is not interested in reporting their activities. This does not reduce the ultras’ potential for violence. They have created a reign of terror in most areas they control,” the official said. He hoped the attack on a national figure like Naidu would change the Centre’s views.

The home ministry’s annual report for 2002-03 had noted a 13.8 per cent rise in Naxalite violence across the country. The figure for Andhra Pradesh had at last count gone down by 30.4 per cent. In the five years before 2002, the state had accounted for 47.5 per cent of Left wing violence in the country.

Officials here believe the People’s War Group’s attack yesterday will help boost the morale of its depleting cadre and infuse fresh life into the movement. Home ministry records show the Maoist Communist Centre, the CPI (M-L) and the PWG account for 85.9 per cent of Naxalite violence in the country.

Senior bureaucrats monitoring Left radicals in the country are worried over the rise of Maoists in Nepal and the close cooperation of India’s radical outfits with comrades in Nepal.

“Efforts by Left-wing guerrillas at carving out a compact revolutionary zone is worrying,” an official said.

Linking the PWG strongholds in Telengana and Dandakaranya with that of the MCC in Bihar and Jharkhand and the Maoists’ in Nepal could create a “red liberated corridor”, which could pose a serious threat to security.

“If, for tactical reasons, these radical Left groups collaborate with (radical) Islamic groups, we could have a time-bomb in our hands,” the official said.

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