Centre sends paramilitary forces to Maharashtra

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New Delhi, Feb 12: The Centre has decided to send paramilitary forces to Maharashtra and asked the state Government to take all necessary steps to ensure peace in the state. An official spokesman of the Home Ministry said the ministry was in close and continuous touch with the authorities in Maharashtra.

''The State Government has been advised to make all necessary arrangements to ensure that peace is maintained all over the State and the activities of miscreants are effectively checked. Towards this end, MHA is also providing additional Central forces to the State Government, as requested by them.'' The decision to send the paramilitary forces to the state has been taken following violence against North Indians in Mumbai on the instigation of Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti led by Raj Thackeray.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Shivraj Patil reviewed the Naxal situation in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and directed that five more companies of para-military forces be sent to Jharkhand to deal with the Maoist menace in the state.

Senior officers of the two States briefed Mr Patil about the situation and the steps taken by the State Governments to deal with it. They also apprised him of the utilization of the funds, provided by the Central Government.

The Home Minister accepted the request of the Jharkhand government to provide additional five companies of paramilitary forces for the required period. The Chhattisgarh government's request for additional paramilitary forces will also be considered by the Ministry.

Mr Patil, however, asked the two State Governments to make use of the paramilitary forces for operational purposes and not for normal law and order or static guard duties. The Centre has already provided 13 battalions of paramilitary forces to Chhattisgarh and 5 to Jharkhand.

Expressing concern over the slow pace of filling up of vacancies in the two states, the Home Minister said the process required to be speeded up. This would not only help strengthen security, but also provide employment to local people. He asked the two State Governments to strengthen their intelligence wings and also ensure optimal and timely utilization of the funds granted under various central schemes.

Mr Patil expressed satisfaction at some successful anti-Naxalite operations carried out recently, and emphasised the need to follow a pro-active strategy in both the States.

The review meeting on Jharkhand was attended, among others, by the DGP of the State and the meeting on Chhattisgarh by the Chief Secretary and DGP of the State. Both the meetings were attended, among others, by Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, DG, CRPF, S.I.S.

Ahmed and senior officers of the Home Ministry.

UNI

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