Ranchi, Feb. 16: The Union ministry of home affairs has termed Jharkhand the “worst LWE-affected state” of 2013, lending credence to this tag with chilling data that include 383 instances of rebel violence and 150 deaths.
The fact came to fore when Union home secretary Anil Goswami sent a confidential letter to Jharkhand chief secretary R.S. Sharma on January 21, 2014, a senior official in the secretariat told The Telegraph. Included in the 150 casualties are 30 security personnel and 12 Maoists. These sombre statistics called for “introspection on the part of the state government”, the Union home secretary’s letter said.
The home secretary’s letter clearly states the Centre’s dissatisfaction with the way the state government is handling Naxalism and is mulling to request the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for a special audit of development schemes in Jharkhand to assess the magnitude of work done and undone.
Goswami’s letter also expressed concern over the “absence” of proactive role of respective superintendents of police of districts during anti-Naxalite operations.
According to the letter, most operations in Jharkhand are led by the Central Armed Police Forces, which include CRPF and BSF, among others.
“The police have largely been playing a secondary role. The absence of proactive intent and action on the part of the district superintendents of police is a cause for concern,” the official quoted from Goswami’s letter.
The Union ministry of home affairs is also implementing upgrade of the Special Forces in four states, including Jharkhand, but is not happy over the way its guidelines have been flouted here.
Goswami’s letter pointed out that most parameters under the guidelines were not being followed in the case of Jharkhand Jaguars, the special task force of Jharkhand Police, to the extent that the forces did not even have an independent inspector-general, a basic requirement.
The Union home ministry released Rs 16,52,33,169 on July 25, 2013 for infrastructure and other requirements of Jharkhand Jaguars, but till now the money had not been released to the executing agency, a “regrettable” situation, the letter said.
On roads designed to wean communities away from LWE (left-wing extremism), out of 753km sanctioned in the state, only 274km have been constructed, which prompted the Union ministry to request Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to conduct a special audit.
The letter also pointed loopholes in the system of rebel surrender and rehabilitation. “Jharkhand does not have a credible and institutionalised regime for the surrender and rehabilitation of LWE cadres. As a result, only 15 Maoists surrendered during the entire year, which is a small number,” the letter said.
Responding to these charges on February 14, chief secretary Sharma admitted he had received a communiqué from the Union home ministry but added that such letters go “to many state administrations” and “since the last one year or so, no big incident has taken place”.
“I have been reviewing the functioning of the home department at regular intervals and have directed authorities concerned to take appropriate security and development related measures to keep a check on rebel activities,” he said.
On the charges of state police playing a supporting role to central forces, Sharma said the opposite was true. “Recently, Giridih police gave a befitting reply to Naxalites. The CRPF is only in a supportive role here and state police plays the proactive role,” he said.