New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of ten Naxal-hit states in Delhi on Sunday (September 26) to review the current status and to discuss future road map for security and development issues, said official sources.
"The meeting is significant as it is learnt to push fresh strategy in the fight against the left-wing extremism (LWE) in 10 Naxal affected states," official sources told ANI.
The meeting will be held in Vigyan Bhawan where Chief Ministers of all the ten Naxal-affected states—Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh- or their representatives will apprise about the current situation in their states and the progress of developmental projects.
As per sources, a similar Naxal meeting is held every year once or twice as per the need of the situation. "Due to Covid-19, this meeting did not occur last year," said sources.
Chief Ministers and their representatives will share the measures taken by their state administration to handle Naxals.
Director Generals of Police along with chief secretaries of these ten states and heads of paramilitary forces will also attend the meeting where Intelligence Bureau (IB) is expected to make a presentation on the issue.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, IB Director Arvind Kumar and senior Home Ministry officials will be attending the meeting.
Sources said that an invitation was sent from Union Home Minister Shah's office earlier this week to take stock of Naxal activities and discuss measures on how to tackle Naxalism.
The meet will have a special emphasis on Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, as well as to ensure a proper bonding with state government and police with paramilitary deployed there during Naxal operations.
The centre is stated to be planning to intensify operations in Naxal-affected areas in Chhattisgarh, where major attacks were witnessed in the last few years, hitting security forces.
The mass killing of 22 security personnel on Chhattisgarh on April 3 in one of the biggest Naxal attacks this year would be the hot topic of the meeting, said sources, adding "intelligence and other lapses would be discussed with a plan not to repeat such things in future by taking a lesson from the incident".
The role of Central Reserve Police Force's (CRPF) Cobra and Bastariya battalions in Chhattisgarh in the fight against Naxals would also be focussed, said the sources.
"The Centre's main emphasis is to capture top Naxal leadership or invite them to surrender and mix up with main strengths to help the government in creating development and peace in LeW states," they said.
Sources said that Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and their Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray are expected to attend the meeting as these leaders earlier this week took a state-level review of the Naxal situation.
While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may send a representative for the meeting, and her Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel is yet to take a call.
States like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which have skeletal-level Naxal cadres, are also expected to join the meeting.
Reports shared by Central agencies from time to time with the MHA have hinted towards the weaker situation in Naxal leadership due to some deaths. Reports said police, as well as paramilitary camps, are reaching interiors of the affected districts.
Over three dozen Communist Party of India (Maoist) senior Naxals have reportedly left the group in May, June and July to avail medical treatment due to COVID-19, which has led to a leadership crisis.
Haribhushan, the head of CPI (Maoist), Telangana Unit, died in June because of 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 Rs 25 lakh, succumbed to COVID-19.
Besides, the sources said, over 300 operations carried out in Naxal hit states so far has weekend their operations.