NEW DELHI: HOME Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a high-level meeting to discuss internal security and Maoist issues. It was attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Joint Secretary (Naxals) and other senior Home Ministry officials. At the 40-minute meeting, Shah was apprised of the country’s internal security situation, specifically in Maoist-affected states where periodical attacks have claimed lives of dozens of paramilitary personnel and civilians. Sources said among the things discussed was initiating action to choke the funding sources of the Maoists and to seize the assets of their leaders.
Maoists remain a major challenge for the Home Ministry, despite former Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s claim that they have been pushed back with newly-built infrastructure and violence in Maoist-infested areas has declined by over 60 per cent. According to Intelligence agencies, the Government has removed 44 districts from its list of areas affected by Maoists, but there is now a resurgent threat from the regrouping of Maoists in four states -- Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
Last month, BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel were killed in an attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada. Later 15 security personnel lost their lives in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast triggered by Maoists in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli. In order to counter this regrouping, the Home Minister will have to focus on several infrastructure projects in these States. For better connectivity, the Central Government plans to install 4,072 mobile phone towers across the 10 Maoist-infested States. The Union Cabinet has already approved an investment of Rs 7,330 crore for these towers in 96 districts..
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