PM seeks consensus on internal security; chief ministers fractious

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reiterated shibboleths as he told a conference of state chief ministers today that the Centre and India's state governments must work together to combat Naxalism.

Addressing the chief ministers' annual conference on internal security in New Delhi, the PM said the government has instituted several measures in the country's 34 Maoist-hit areas.

He failed to specify what these measures would be.

Shifting his focus to the crimes against women that remain commonplace in India, the prime minister said his government has enacted several laws to tackle such crimes.

"There is a need to put in place institutional mechanisms such as sensitisation of policemen," the prime minister told the internal security meet - again shoving out a bromide. The PM failed to specify any steps from the union government in this regard.

Addressing the chief ministers was also the union home minister and Congress party loyalist Sushil Kumar Shinde. He claimed that more centre-state co-operation in intelligence sharing has ensured improvement in anti-Naxal efforts.

Addressing the internal security meet, Shinde said, "The acts of violence with innocents will be dealt with firmly."

The leading issue was of course the attack on a convoy of Congress party men who were seeking to canvass in Chattisgarh, a state that is rich in mineral resources but poorer than others in human development.

The Maoist attack killed 27 people and left many more injured; including poorly-paid security personnel as well as Congress leaders.

Crucial CMs skip central security meet

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the ever-antagonistic West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have skipped the chief ministers' conference on India's internal security called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Today's annual conference may be decisive in union Home Minister P Chidambaram's plan to raise a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has met stiff opposition from most states as they like to control their police.

Envisaged by Chidambaram in 2009 the NCTC proved a non-starter following stiff opposition by several state governments, mainly over its proposed power to search, seize and arrest.