In a renewed push to fight left-wing extremism (LWE), home minister Amit Shah has called for a meeting with chief ministers of Naxal-affected states on Sunday to “review left-wing extremism and related issues on both security and development.” Director Generals of Police, chief secretaries and heads of paramilitary forces will also attend the meeting.
Sources in the Jharkhand Chief Minister’s Office confirmed that Hemant Soren will be attending the meeting.
According to sources, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy took a state-level review of the Naxal situation on Thursday, and is likely to attend the Sunday meet.
While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee may send a representative for the meeting, her Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel is yet to take a call, according to officials in Raipur.
Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur are worst affected with LWE. Neighbouring Gadchiroli in Maharashtra is also a stronghold of Naxals.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray met state home minister Dilip Walse Patil, chief secretary and other officials on Monday to review the Naxal situation. Thackeray is likely to highlight the steps taken by the Maharashtra government on the development front in the affected areas. He could emphasise on the need to for expansion of transportation and communication network in the Naxal regions.
The issue of funds for development and security operations could top the presentations made by all opposition ruled states while the Centre could highlight non-utilisations of funds by the states.
The home minister has asked officials handling the LWE situation to make the fight against Naxalism decisive this year, and could emphasise on Centre-state cooperation to achieve this.
According to state and central agencies, Naxal leadership has been handicapped by desertion, deaths and police camps reaching interiors of the affected districts.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has suffered a leadership crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic as nearly 35 senior and mid-level Maoists left the group in May to avail medical treatment.
Haribhushan, the head of CPI (Maoist), Telengana Unit, died in June due to Covid-19. His wife Dhradha, a Naxal commander, also succumbed to Covid-19. According to the Chhattisgarh police, nearly 100 Naxals, including Sujata, a member of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, who was carrying a bounty of ₹25 lakh, have suffered from Covid-19.