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Tone-up signal to CRPF on Maoists

New Delhi, June 26: Union home minister Rajnath Singh today asked the CRPF to be “proactive” in a veiled message that the force’s operations had slackened, particularly against Maoists.

“Be proactive and we are behind you,” Rajnath was quoted as telling CRPF chief Dilip Trivedi during the meeting at the force’s headquarters here.

The words were viewed as a “nudge” instead of a “rap” given that a home ministry internal note has described the force’s recent performance as “sub-optimal”.

Ministry sources said operations by the force had not been as intensive as expected despite a rise in deployments from 14 battalions (15,400 troops) in 2010 to 21 (23,100) in 2014 in the nine Maoist-hit states, including Bengal.

Rajnath, however, refrained from using stronger words to avoid demoralising the CRPF at a time it is counting on the force to step up the offensive against the rebels.

Rajnath’s deputy Kiren Rijiju had recently suggested the Maoists were more than an “internal security threat”, the term used by the UPA regime, and referred to the their Chinese tactics and methods.

Today’s review also covered Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast but the focus was on the Maoists, against whom the CRPF is the Centre’s main combat arm, besides state police.

The “Maoist theatre” has been “cold”, a ministry source said, adding CRPF operations in rebel hotbeds have achieved little headway in recent months.

Rajnath is slated to meet tomorrow the chief secretaries and police chiefs of at least six of the Maoist-hit states, and stress the need to improve co-ordination.