Centre and state differ on Maoist picture

Bhubaneswar: Is Maoist activities in the state on the decline or is it rising? The Centre and the state government provide different reports raising many an eyebrow.

The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) in its report on Maoist activities in the nation stated that Odisha was `severely affected` by naxal menace and the problem was as much serious as the situations in Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. While the Governor in his inaugural address of the budget session of the assembly on Tuesday said that Maoist incidents had declined in 2011 in comparison to 2010. For example, while the MHA reported that 192 naxal related violent incidents took olace in the state in 2011, the Governor on the basis of figures provided by the state government, put the figure exactly at 100 in his address.

Even the casualties figures differed for the year. The Centre reported that 14 security personnel were killed by the ultras in 2011. But the state government figure stood at 15 casualties. Glaring dissimilarites between the facts provided by the two were there for 2010 as well. The MHA report revealed that 17 security personnel were killed by the Maoists in 2010. The Governor in his address differed and said that 22 security personnel were killed by the naxalites in 2010.

The Governor cited that there was significant increase in the number of surrendered Maoists. While the MHA report was silent on surrendered ultras it noted that `Odisha was a severely affected state`.

Amid conflicting situations, the diector general of police M M Praharaj and home secretary today In New Delhi attended the meeting on Naxal problem in the nation convened by the MHA. The meeting was chaired by the Union home minister P Chidambaram. The state government has demanded that four more districts should be included in the Security Related Expenditure(SER) scheme and more helicopters and para-military forces should be provided for anti-naxal operations.