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Red tide rising

Red tide rising

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 20, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/170636/Red-tide-rising.html

CAG says States not doing enough

The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General is a severe indictment of the State Governments of those States affected by Maoist violence for not doing enough to modernise the State Police forces despite funds being available. This goes to show that the Maoist threat is not being taken seriously. In its review of police modernisation in 16 States where there have been several Maoist attacks since last year, the CAG has found that the State Police forces have been handicapped in their battles with Maoist terrorists. This is largely due to the grave lapses in the proper utilisation of funds, weaponry, communications and training. For instance, Andhra Pradesh, according the review for the period 2002-2007, utilised only 13 to 38 per cent of the funds meant for police modernisation. This means that many of the police stations in the sensitive areas of the State did not even have proper transportation vehicles, and the police personnel had to make do with outdated weapons. States such as Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have been similarly culpable with funds not having been properly utilised. The CAG has also not ruled out the misappropriation of funds on the part of some of these State administrations. Thus, it appears that it is not just the Centre that has allowed the Maoists to flourish by following a soft policy towards them, but it is also the State Governments that have been complacent and have not taken appropriate steps to tackle the problem. The result has been that today a large area in central India, stretching from the eastern districts of Maharashtra all the way to Jharkhand, has been infested by the Maoists. And the security forces have not been able to defeat them despite their best efforts.

The Maoists have also used State borders to their advantage to escape the anti-Maoist operations in one State by moving across to a neighbouring State. Information gathered from Maoist insurgents has revealed extensive plans for the destabilisation of India and for spreading anarchy. The security forces have even stumbled upon plans for a Maoist penetration of urban pockets in various parts of the country. The recent Maoist attacks on the day of the first phase of Lok Sabha polling and in the weeks preceding it, were meant to undermine Indian democracy. It also demonstrates all that has gone wrong with the anti-Maoist operations in India. Over 2,281 civilians and 821 security personnel have been killed due to Maoist violence between 2004 and 2008 along with much destruction of public property. The police forces, in their present condition, can hardly be expected to take on the Maoists. It is, therefore, for the concerned State Governments to heed the CAG report and do the needful by providing the police forces the right equipment and training.

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