The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police veto PWG terms

Ranchi, June 22: The state police today reacted strongly to the conditions set by Naxalite outfits, particularly the People’s War, for talks, dubbing them “impractical and not feasible”.

Senior police officials said not one of the nine points on the wish list could be granted in principle as it could lead to “chaos”. They feel an Andhra Pradesh-like situation is imminent if armed personnel from the troubled areas are pulled back as demanded by the extremists.

They pointed out that when the Andhra government had declared a ceasefire and “closed” the armed personnel in the police barracks, the Naxalite menace in the state had almost spiralled out of control. Later the state police had a tough time containing the Naxalite violence.

Police chief Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said the situation in the troubled areas does not warrant a pullback of the state armed constabulary and paramilitary personnel.

“If the wish of the People’s War is at all granted and the police personnel are called back to the barracks, it would trigger an exodus of villagers…. In many sensitive areas, the villagers are under direct threat from the outfits and the police personnel are playing a vital role in ensuring security. The claim of the People’s War to call away the entire force from the Naxalite-infested areas happens to be impractical,” the director-general of police said.

He scoffed at another demand to slam the brakes on modernisation of the police force, saying the People’s War is “ignorant”.

“The process of modernisation has not been targeted against the Naxalite groups only. The process has a broader perspective than what the People’s War has visualised. Modernising the police force does not mean that the whole machinery will be put to use to counter the Naxalite groups alone,” Prasad said.

The police chief explained that as Jharkhand is a new state, it is necessary to equip the force with modern gadgets. “We do not have proper buildings for the state police headquarters, the district police headquarters and even the police stations. The arrangement is a make-shift one and the department desperately needs new vehicles, weapons, armoury, computers and even stationery,” he said.

Referring to the call of the People’s War to end fake police encounters, oppression and repression in the name of the anti-Naxalite drive, Prasad said fake faceoffs were not possible when the country had a vigilant body like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

“There may have been isolated cases a few years ago. But the NHRC has come out as the watchdog so far as cases of abuse and fake encounters are concerned. The police officials are scared of exceeding their brief by staging fake encounters anymore,” he said.

Prasad has always advocated a non-police solution to the menace with more focus on development. But he feels that whenever there was a consorted campaign against the Naxalite outfits, the police department never got the support of the development authorities that helped the outfits to mobilise sympathy for themselves.

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