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Naxal issue discussed in Rajya Sabha

Amidst a walkout by the Opposition NDA, Home Minister Shivraj Patil informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the central government had put in place a mechanism for monitoring Naxal activities to evolve strategies to counter and closely address the problem.

He, however, stressed upon the need for "greater, concerted and cooperative" efforts between the states inter-se as well as between the Centre and states to achieve results that are more acceptable.

In response to queries raised by Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the Home Minister said that deceased Lok Sabha member Sunil Kumar Mahato had found his security arrangements to be "adequate". He had been placed under a "Y" category security and 2 PSOs along-with five commandoes had been attached to him, Patil said in a suo-moto statement on the attack on the JMM leader on March 4. Information received from the Jharkhand government, he said, was that Mahato had not informed the district authorities about his programme at village Baguria in East Singhbhum district.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj — alleging that the Minister's response was of a "casual nature" — had earlier led the NDA walkout, shortly after the Minister had begun responding to clarifications from members on the incident.

Alleging that the Minister's response to issues and concerns raised earlier by members was of a "casual nature", NDA members led by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had staged a walkout.

Responding to concerns expressed by members in the 90-minute long discussion, Patil said that it was for the state governments to take a call on the issue of providing enhanced security cover to MPs.

On police modernisation schemes for Jharkhand, he said that Rs 182.72 crore had been provided to the state in the last six years while, during the current year, a special grant of Rs 15 crore had been provided to the state for purchase of telecommunications, weaponry and de-mining equipment. Jharkhand has been provided Rs 20.92 crore under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme until date, he added.

The Naxal problem is of a serious nature, but combined efforts of the state and central governments have shown some levels of containment, Patil said, adding that Andhra Pradesh had achieved noteworthy success in controlling the problem through specials forces called the Greyhounds. In the country as a whole, he said, the Naxal incidents declined from 1608 in 2005 to 1509 in 2006 - signifying a 6.15 per cent decline.

Earlier in the discussion, NDA members demanded imposition of President's rule in Jharkhand. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha desired to know why the Greyhounds model of Andhra Pradesh had not been replicated in other Naxal-affected states, while suggesting that armed helicopters should be provided to all "red corridor" states. Ravi Shankar Prasad — another ex-union minister — alleged a loot of government funds in the name of Naxalism, while elaborating that officials and others were actually misusing funds allocated for strengthening security. CPI(M) leader Brinda Karath wanted the government to conduct a review of the functioning of the intelligence gathering agencies. Read more

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posted by Resistance 3/06/2007 11:12:00 PM,

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