Shinde to hold high-level meet in Raipur on strategy to deal with Naxal menace

Raipur, May 31 (ANI): Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde arrived here today to review the security situation in Chhattisgarh in the wake of last Saturday's audacious attack by the Maoists on Congress leaders in Bastar district.

Shinde, who visited the native place of former Chhattisgarh PCC Chief Nand Kumar Patel in Raigarh to convey his condolences to the bereaved family, will be holding a high-level meeting this afternoon in which discussions would take place on the strategy to tackle the Maoist menace.

Shinde had earlier on Thursday assured full protection to politicians working in Naxal-affected states irrespective of their party affiliation.

"The security arrangement for everyone will be strengthened and especially for those persons, who are working towards bringing a democratic set up in the Maoist-affected (areas). Leaders and workers of all parties will be given full security," he told mediapersons in the national capital last evening.

Shinde admitted that the ultras pose threat to urban cities of the country.

"We have intelligence reports of the same. In Pune also, I had said that Maoist outfits are spreading their wings. We have information that the rebels might attack many urban cities," he said.

The Home Minister also refuted media reports about his over stay in US, and said he extended his visit to meet an eye specialist.

Shinde had earlier led a delegation to the United States for a homeland security dialogue before deciding to stay back for eye-related consultations.

An all-party meeting convened by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh on the Maoist issue yesterday urged the Central Government to come out with a work plan, and called for better coordination to tackle the threat.

The meeting, which was attended by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left Parties, concluded that the Maoist issue is a national problem and not specific to a particular state.

Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh had earlier on Tuesday said anti-Naxal operations will be intensified with more security forces and modern weapons being provided by the Central Government to the affected regions.

"We will coordinate with Naxal-hit states adjoining Chhattisgarh and forces and modern weapons would be provided by the Centre for anti-Naxal operations," he told mediapersons in Raipur after holding a meeting of senior officials at the police headquarters.

The Union Home Secretary, who held a review meeting with senior state officials regarding the Naxal attack on Congress leaders, also made it clear that the Army will not be a part of the operations against the Maoists.

"We will not involve the army. There is no need to call the Army. Neither have we asked them. But we will send more (paramilitary) forces," he said, when asked to comment on the role of the army to tackle the Naxal threat.

Singh further said a judicial inquiry has been set up to find out the error.

"The state government has requested the honourable Chief Justice to nominate a sitting judge. We will come to know where was the error," he said.

Singh further said there is proper coordination with the neighbouring state governments, and added that the ultras are on the backfoot at several places.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the brutal attack by the Maoists on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state's Bastar district, killing 28 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 37 others.

Former Union Minister V.C. Shukla injured in the attack is being treated at a Medanta hospital in Gurgaon. His condition is stated to be critical, but stable. (ANI)

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