Dealing with security-related challenges in country has improved: Chidambaram

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said that in the two years since the terrorist attack on Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists, dealing with security-related challenges in the country has improved.

Presenting his ministry's monthly report for November, Chidambaram said: "There was a spate of news stories doubting the changes that have been brought about in the last two years. I, therefore, propose to deal at some length with one part of the work done in the last two years, and that is 'capacity addition'. The government has taken steps to ensure that."

Focusing specifically on internal security, the Home Minister said that twenty-two innocent civilians had been killed in different places in Assam between November 8 and 10.

He said that the NDFB (Anti-Talks) faction had claimed responsibility for the killings, and some arrests have been made.

"The security forces have been directed to take stern action in accordance with law, apprehend the leaders of the faction and the perpetrators of the crimes, and bring them to justice. They deserve - and will be given - exemplary punishment for their crimes," he said.

Commenting on left-wing extremism, Chidambaram said that in November, the CPI (Maoist) was responsible for 135 deaths, including 62 civilians and 11 security personnel.

"Of the civilians killed, 18 were branded as 'police informers'. Apart from targeting so-called 'police informers', the Naxalites have now started attacking the families of policemen and Special Police Officers with the object of discouraging any one from providing assistance to or joining the police force," he said.

In Chhattisgarh, in the past 6 months, he added that seven family members of police constables had been killed, and in two instances, fathers of two of these constables were abducted and released with the warning to ask their sons to resign from the police force.

He said Naxalites continued to target infrastructure, attacking 31 properties such as Panchayat Bhawans, school buildings, roads and police stations.

The minister said that the government's response to the challenge of left-wing extremism remains two-pronged - using security forces to neutralize them and promote development-related initiatives.

He said that in November, security forces had arrested 170 Naxalites and neutralized 24 others in encounters. Thirty-one Naxalites had surrendered, he added.

On the development side, he said that the government has approved an ambitious integrated action plan for sixty districts affected by Naxalism.

"We propose to make a block grant of Rs.25 crore to each district for the remaining four months of 2010-11 and Rs.30 crore to each district for 2011-12. A meeting of the Development Commissioners of the nine States has been convened on December 3, 2010. It is our intention to fasttrack the implementation of the plan and it is our hope that the administration in each of the districts would be able to deliver concrete and visible results before March 31, 2011," Chidambaram said.

He also revealed that a tribunal has upheld a government notification that declares the LTTE as an 'unlawful association' under UA(P)A, 1967 for a further period of two years (i.e. till November 12, 2012).

He also said that a sum of Rs.24 lakh had been sanctioned as assistance to eight beneficiaries at Rs. three lakh each as assistance to victims of terrorist/communal/Naxal violence. (ANI)