New Delhi, Dec 20: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with Chief Ministers began here today to take stock of the internal security situation, identify the gaps and develop a roadmap to fill them.
The meeting, being attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, heads of paramilitary forces and other security agencies, is focusing on rising incidents of naxalism, growing hinterland terrorism, situation in Jammu and Kashmir and militancy affected North Eastern states. Issues of border management and increasing international cooperation in tackling crimes is also likely to figure at the seven-hour long meet.
The annual meeting is taking feedback from the states about security situation prevailing there, steps they have taken during the past one year in augumenting security, resources utilised and if any additional resources and other assistance was required to meet their present needs.
The meet would strive to arrive at a consensus between the Centre and the states over setting up a federal agency to investigate terror incidents having inter-state ramification, improving basic policing by filling vacancies and strengthening intelligence-gathering machinery and utilising the vast pool of private security agencies to strengthen security scenario.
The Centre is likely to emphasise the need for states to properly utilise funds meant for police modernisation and take concrete time-bound steps to tackle the problems of terrorism, naxalism and other such threats.
The day-long meet is being held in the backdrop of recent jail break by naxalites in Chhattisgarh, blasts in Assam and Manipur and terror attacks in courts of Uttar Pradesh and at religious places like Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan and at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad.
Rising number of sleeper cells of various terror groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Huji in the hinterland and measures to unearth and neutralise them is likely to be discussed in detail.
Though many states were at present against setting up of a federal agency as they felt that police and law and order was a state subject, the meeting would strive to arrive at a consensus on establishing such an agency to tackle terror crimes having international and interstate ramifications.
Security situation of megacities is also likely to figure at the talks along with the need to tap the vast manpower pool of security agencies to prevent terror incidents and augumenting the security situation. These private security agencies could play a vital role in preventing terror attacks on 'soft targets like malls, shopping complexes and cinema halls' through increased surveillance.
The Centre will seek states' views about formulating rules and taking measures to effectively use these private security agencies.
Measures to check naxal violence would be discussed in detail as the Centre has been repeatedly emphasising the need for taking concerted efforts, both for improving security and development in the naxal affected districts of the country, by effectively implementing National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna and other such schemes.
Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, which are the epicentre of naxal violence, would provide details of the measures being taken to control naxal violence.
The Centre is also likely to put forth the view of replicating the experience of Andhra Pradesh in having specially trained forces 'Grey Hounds' to counter naxalites in jungle.
In view of the Dantewada jail break in which 298 prisoners escaped, it is likely that the Centre would stress the task of strengthening physical security and surveillance in jails by deploying more security personnel and prevent access of mobile phones and other such facilities to inmates.
Besides the importance of filling in all the vacancies in the police forces in the states to strengthen the same, the Centre would ask the states to impart efficient training to the police personnel so that they could effectively perform the job of maintaining law and order.
Measures like setting up separate cadre for intelligence gathering, providing incentives to police personnel in the special branches of police will also figure at the discussions.