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Centre sounds security rejig

Ranchi, June 25: Redeploying and consolidating central paramilitary forces to strategically combat Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) and pushing development in remote areas are twin priorities for Jharkhand, Union home ministry senior security adviser K. Vijay Kumar has suggested.

Kumar, who left today for New Delhi, visited Naxalite-hit Latehar, Gumla, Palamau and West Singhbhum during his three-day state trip.

In an exclusive tête-à-tête with The Telegraph before his flight, the dapper Kumar, a former CRPF director-general who served as one of the two advisers to Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmed during last year’s President’s rule, spoke on Jharkhand’s specific needs.

“The violence graph related to LWE has declined but there is need to redeploy security forces and consolidate them in select areas to ensure rebels don’t spread wings.”

Early this year, the Union home ministry termed Jharkhand the “worst LWE-hit state” of 2013, lending credence to this tag with chilling data that include 383 instances of rebel violence and 150 deaths.

Assisted in his recce by additional director-general of police (CRPF) Vivek Dube, Kumar said he had advised the state to co-ordinate regularly with neighbouring states to stem rebel threat.

“Jharkhand is encircled by many Maoist-hit states. Forces need to be deployed in Santhal Pargana, Koderma and Garhwa, among others,” said the former top cop, who now looks after matters related to internal security and development in Maoist-hit areas in the home ministry.

At present, Jharkhand has 22 CRPF and two Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) battalions, most of which are deployed in Saranda (West Singhbhum), Khunti, Latehar and Giridih.

Of late, rebel activity has been noticed in Dumka, Koderma and Garhwa. Maoist posters have been recovered from Satgawan in Koderma, suggesting former chief minister and JVM chief Babulal Marandi is on the rebel hit list. In 2007, rebels had killed Marandi’s son in Giridih bordering Koderma.

Kumar also reviewed activities under Saranda Development Plan and similar projects for Saryu-Kone, Latehar, and Jhumra forests on Bokaro-Hazaribagh borders.

Tours apart, Kumar met senior officials of state police and administration, including acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, in two separate meetings today at police headquarters and Project Building.

He proposed compensation for personnel who lose their lives to malaria, other vector-borne diseases and snakebite while posted in rebel-hit areas almost on a par with the sum offered to those who die in Naxalite violence.

Expressing concern over rising casualties in rebel landmines and bullets, Kumar stressed on central aid for the state to purchase 1,000 bikes for patrol and fast offensives.

Top sources quoted Kumar saying that the Centre had given its nod to five India Reserve Battalion (IRB) companies in Jharkhand, two related to technical and three to security affairs. Kumar also stressed on constabulary training to plug intelligence gaps.


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