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New Delhi : Addressing the review meeting on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in New Delhi on August 26, 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that LWE is one of the major internal security challenges facing the Nation for the last several decades. Left Wing Extremism has no place in PM Narendra Modi’s Vision of ‘New India’, he added.
Several Union Ministers including Finance Minister, Ministers for Road Transport & Highways, Agriculture, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Tribal Affairs, MoS Home Affairs, along with Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh attended the meeting besides senior officials of Central and State Governments.
Shah observed that LWE organisations are against democratic institutions and use violence to subvert the democratic process at ground level. They actively seek to prevent development in the least developed regions of the country. Their strategy is to misguide people and keep them ignorant. Shah noted that the basis of the PM’s vision of ‘New India’ is the strength of holistic, last-mile development, and it is therefore essential to get rid of the menace of LWE violence. Shah asserted that India’s fight against those who try to subvert democracy with violence would continue relentlessly.
Noting the success of security forces against LWE violence, Shah said that the last few years have seen a decline in number of districts that saw LWE incidents, and the number of incidents as well. From the high 2,258 events of LWE violence in 2009, the events came down to 833 in 2018. The number of deaths dropped from 1,005 in 2009 to 240 in 2018. From 96 districts affected by naxal violence in 2010, the number of districts affected was reduced to 60 in 2018.
Shah observed that states play a key role in maintaining law and order, therefore, a synergy between the centre and states can effectively address the issue of LWE. Though incidents of LWE violence have come down, focus needs to be kept to eliminate it completely and all efforts need to be maintained by Centre and states in full pace, he added.
Shah also elaborated the multi-dimensional strategy followed by the centre in this regard which includes use of advanced technology, sharing intelligence, and raising of 66 Indian Reserve Battalions (IRBs). He emphasized on capacity building of local forces as it is strong local forces that can effectively neutralise LWE organizations from their areas.
The Home Minister also focused on the need to check flow of funds to LWE organisations, and praised the states for the steps taken by them in this regard. He also called upon the states to rationalise their surrender policy to mainstream innocent individuals caught in the trap of LWE violence.
Shah said that apart from the flagship schemes of various ministries, specific initiatives have been taken by the Central Government for areas affected by LWE, which mainly include improving road and telecom connectivity, financial inclusion, skill development and education. He specifically talked about accelerating the pace of opening up of schools under Eklavya model as well as ensuring the presence of banking facilities within 5 km to all citizens. The Union Home Minister assured the State Governments that the Centre would cooperate fully in eliminating LWE.
Talking about the National strategy to counter LWE formed in 2015, Shah said that it was a multipronged approach consisting of security, development and ensuring participatory governance and rights for local tribals, inter alia. He said that under this strategy, the protection of the rights of local citizens is the priority.