PM to meet CMs of Naxal-hit states on Wednesday

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will address a specially convened meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal-affected states here on Wednesday to chalk out a fresh strategy to curb Left-wing extremism.

The day-long meeting of the Chief Ministers of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar will take stock of the situation arising out of the recent Maoist violence and will chalk out a strategy to curb Left-wing extremism, official sources said.

Jharkhand, which is under President's Rule, will be represented by its governor.

The plan to redeploy paramilitary forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations and development schemes undertaken under the aegis of the Planning Commission are expected to be discussed threadbare.

The home minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, will brief the Chief Ministers about the government's plans, seek their suggestions and discuss how to go about it.

The Prime Minister, who had described the Naxal menace as a grave threat to internal security, will address the Chief Ministers and hear their views on the issue.

The meeting comes in the wake of a spurt in Naxal attacks. The ultras have killed at least 100 policemen in Chhattisgarh since April and derailed an express train in West Bengal that claimed the lives of nearly 150 people.

Government has been maintaining that accelerated development and calibrated police action are the two pillars of its anti-Naxal policy.

Mr Chidambaram had said that on both fronts, the primary responsibility rests with the state governments though the Centre will offer all help.

According to an estimate, about 40,000 sq km areas in Naxal-affected states are under the control of Maoists.

Naxal violence has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and security personnel in the last five years.

Out of a total of 10,268 casualties between 2005 and May 2010, 2,372 deaths have been reported in 2009 as against 1,769 in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007.

Besides, Naxals targeted 362 telephone towers, many school buildings, roads, culverts etc. in 2009 alone.

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