The state government, prompted by the flak it drew from the Centre for going soft on Maoists, has decided to host a co-ordination meeting of police officers from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand shortly.
The meeting is likely to be held in the Shahabad range, which shares its borders with Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Deputy inspector-general (Shahabad range) Amit Jain confirmed about the state hosting the co-ordination meeting of police officers of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to chalk out a strategy to tackle the Naxalite menace. “The date of the meeting would be finalised within a week after consultation with police officers of the two states,” he said.
Jain, who was shifted to Shahabad from Bhagalpur recently, said the decision to hold the meeting in Shahabad was taken in the wake of intelligence reports indicating the Maoists’ plan to strengthen their base in the region.
Inspector-general (Patna zone) S.M. Khopade is expected to chair the meeting to he held in the last week of February or in the first week of March. Jain revealed that the meeting was earlier scheduled for the second week of February but it was postponed due to sudden transfer of some police officers in Uttar Pradesh. “I am in touch with my counterparts in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The police officers of the bordering districts of the two states would take part in the meeting for the first time in the recent past,” he told The Telegraph.
Shahabad range comprises Rohtas, Kaimur, Bhojpur and Buxar districts. Of those, Rohtas, Kaimur and Bhojpur are considered Maoist-hit.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the Centre’s letter to chief secretary A.K. Sinha expressing its concern over the rise in the incidents of Maoist activities and less number of arrest of rebels in the past year. The home ministry’s letter was sent to the state in December, 2013.
A report of the joint intelligence committee, which is the second government think tank after the National Security Council, revealed that Bihar recorded about 57 per cent increase in terms of killings though the rise in the number of incidents was only 5 per cent in 2013. According to the report, 27 security personnel were killed in 2013 during anti-Red operations in the state. But no Maoist was killed. Thirty weapons were looted from security personnel in 2013. But no incident of arms loot was reported for three preceding years. “The loot of weapons in Bihar accounts for over 53 per cent of total firearms snatched from security forces across the country,” said the report.