A day after Pune police said they were probing an email that indicated a Maoist plan to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a “Rajiv Gandhi type incident” by “targeting his roadshows”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday said the government was “always serious” about the security of the Prime Minister, and that Maoists were “fighting a lost battle” which is “ending”.
Responding to queries from reporters on the Pune police claim, Singh, who was in Jammu on the second day of his visit to the state to review the law and order situation, said: “Hum apne Prime Minister ki security ko le kar barabar gambhir rahe hain. Aur Maoists ka jahan tak sawal hai, unkey barey mein kehna chahoonga ki is samay woh ek haari hui ladai lar rahe hain (We have always been serious about the security of our Prime Minister. So far as Maoists are concerned, I would like to say that they are fighting a lost battle).”
Maoist extremism, he said, had decreased considerably. They earlier had influence in 135 districts. Now, it was down to 90 districts. Of this, ten were most affected, he said. “Is ugarwad ka samapan ho raha hai, jaise North-East mein ugarwad ka samapan hua hai (This extremism is ending, the way it ended in the North-East),” Singh said, adding that if one were to go there and check, one would find that in the last four years it had decreased by 85 per cent.
In Pune Thursday, while seeking custody of five persons held for alleged Maoist links, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar, without naming Modi, told a city court that a communication seized from the laptop of one of the five held spoke of “another Rajiv Gandhi type incident”.
Those arrested were Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dhawale, leader of Mumbai-based Republican Panthers Jati Antachi Chalwal (RP); Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP); Nagpur lawyer Surendra Gadling of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL); Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen; and Mahesh Raut, a former Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) Fellow.
Police said the five were among those behind the Elgaar Parishad, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017. Speeches made at this meeting, police said, led to the violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1 during the 200th year celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon
In Jammu, the Union Home Minister reiterated the government’s stand to deport the Rohingyas back to Myanmar. “They are from Burma (Myanmar) and they shall go back there. We have written to all state governments that they be identified and a survey conducted to ascertain their numbers,” Singh said, adding that state governments have also been advised not to issue them any document on the basis of which they can claim Indian citizenship.
“After getting all the information from state governments, we will hand it over to the Ministry of External Affairs and then take up the matter with the Myanmar government to take them back,” he said.
On the unilateral ceasefire by security forces, Singh said that the Prime Minister announced it to ensure that Muslims do not face any obstruction in observing fast during the holy month of Ramzan. “Insofar as extending it is concerned, we will review the situation at the appropriate time and take a decision accordingly,” he said.
On Pakistan, he said India wants good relations with all its neighbours. But Pakistan, he said, has to take the initiative to stop efforts being made at its soil to aid and promote terrorism.
The Home Minister announced a slew of measures for border residents and migrants. The government, he said, had decided to create nine battalions, including two with youth from the border and nearby areas. Of the remaining India Reserve Battalions, one woman battalion each will be for Jammu and Kashmir Valley. Sixty per cent of the recruits in the battalions will be residents of border and nearby areas, he said.
He announced payment of Rs 5.50 lakh as relief to 5,764 families of West Pakistan refugees on the lines of refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who number nearly 36,000 families. Of them, over 12,700 families have already been provided relief of Rs 5.50 lakh each, he said.