CM Chavan,Patil differ on POTA-like law to fight Naxalshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/cm-chavan-patil-differ-on-potalike-law-to-fight-naxals/

CM Chavan,Patil differ on POTA-like law to fight Naxals

NCP wants a law on the lines of POTA or MCOCA but the Congress leadership is opposed to the proposal. The party feels such a law could be misused against the innocent.

CM Prithviraj Chavan and home minister R R Patil have serious differences over making a presentation to the Centre on effectively fighting Naxals in Maharashtra.

At an all-India conference of chief ministers in Delhi to discuss internal security Wednesday,the NCP leadership wants to push for greater authority by amending laws.

NCP wants a law on the lines of POTA or MCOCA but the Congress leadership is opposed to the proposal.

The party feels such a law could be misused against the innocent.

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Patil,who is also guardian minister of Gadchiroli district,said,“The present laws do not empower the state to deal with Naxals in a battle that is no longer ideological. There are various factors at play which have to be dealt with sternly.

“The Centre should amend Acts on the lines of POTA and MCOCA to curb Naxal activities across the country.”

However,sources in Mantralaya said,“Chavan is unlikely to demand a stringent law like POTA or MCOCA. He will leave it to the Centre to take a collective view on the requirement for an amendment in the present Act to deal with Naxals.”

The state home ministry is concerned as Naxals are no longer confined to tribal belts but have made inroads in urban areas such as Thane,Pune and Mumbai outskirts.

They are also getting a lot of financial support from corporate houses with business interests in tribal belts. Procurement of hi-tech arms and ammunation by Naxals is another concern.

However,Chavan and Patil are unanimous in their demand for a financial package to modernise the police force to fight Naxals in Gadchiroli,Gondia and Bhandara.

The Rs 2-crore rehabilitation package being extended for the past couple of years to persuade tribals to give up arms and join the mainstream is being dismissed as insufficent.

Construction of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and electrification of villages in Naxal belts will also be discussed.

The state government feels the budget of Rs 1,000 crore for socio-economic development of tribal districts is not adequate.

After the Chhattisgarh attack on a Congress convoy,Maharashtra has become extremely sensitive as it is the nearest hideout for Naxals.

Sources in the home department said,“There are directives from the Centre to not lower the guard as the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border has become very volatile.

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“The number of Naxals in the three districts of Maharashtra does not normally exceed 350-400. However,it would be very difficult to ascertain the numbers when a group under attack in the neighbourhood makes Maharashtra its hideout. The numbers multiply.”