Impose curfew, fine on villagers for helping Naxals: Mumbai CP

Imposing curfew, slapping collective fine and taking to task sarpanch and elders in villages found to be giving food and shelter to Maoists aresome of the measures suggested by Mumbai Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh to cripple the Naxal menace.

Calling Maoists 'snakes' for declaring a war against the state, he said, "They (Naxals) need to be searched, driven out or neutralised" by putting "collective responsibility" on villagers as even "passive neutrality" of locals is advantageous to the Maoists and an obstacle for security agencies.

In the latest issue of the Indian Police Journal (IPJ), a compendium of thoughts and comments of senior police and intelligence community officers brought out by the BPRD, the 1980-batch Maharashtra cadre police officer was critical about the state of affairs in dealing with Naxal violence, termed as the biggest threat to the internal security of the country.

He wrote that as far as anti-Maoist strategy in the country is concerned, the coordination among government agencies exists "mainly on paper". He said it was time to admit that the locals are not with the administration despite building roads, bridges and other infrastructure and it has led to little improvement in their quality of life. The Commissioner, in the topic "Fire in forest: Tackling Maoist menace", said the Maoist movement needs to be restricted "both physically and psychologically from the general population".

"To further this, extremist and public movements should regulated through the institution of collective responsibility meaning thereby that hosting the extremists by one in the village, attending the meeting of extremists, providing them food, etc., blocking the roads by felling trees should hold the entire village responsible.

"A collective fine for all village residents or curfew for two days may be thought of. Alternatively, the village Sarpanch, police patil and other village-elders should be punished." He said every member of a village, above 12 years of age, must be registered with the district administration and be issued an identity card. "For all regulatory measures, government should consider the enactment of an appropriate law," Singh wrote in his 20-page piece.

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