Monday, August 22, 2005

Dialogue is something only tactical and it is not part of the three-pronged strategy

‘Doors not closed on Naxal dialogue’
- By Venkat Parsa

New Delhi, Aug. 21: National Advisory Council member Jairam Ramesh, who is an MP from Andhra Pradesh, has asserted that in the wake of clamping a ban on CPI (Maoists) in Andhra Pradesh, doors have not been closed on dialogue with Naxalites. "Dialogue is something only tactical and it is not part of the three-pronged strategy," Mr Ramesh explained. The Congress and the government remain committed to the peace process, he said.

Mr Ramesh also debunked the claims that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had brought the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill under pressure from the Left. It was implemented as a scheme for a long time during the tenures of three Congress Prime Ministers — Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao — but was given legal guarantee for the first time now.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q: A ban has been clamped on CPI (Maoists) in Andhra Pradesh. Does it signal that the peace process has collapsed?

A: The doors have not been closed on dialogue with the Naxalites. Dialogue is only tactical and it is not part of the three-pronged strategy unveiled by the Congress, to tackle the Naxalite problem. It entails allowing Naxals to come overground and spread their ideology through peaceful and democratic means; effective policing to ensure that there is no breach of law and order and development of the Naxal-affected areas. This policy was formulated by former Andhra Pradesh chief minister M. Channa Reddy during 1989-90. The Congress and the government remain committed to the peace process.

Q: Still, does not the ban send out wrong signals?

A: The ban was perhaps inevitable, given the sharp escalation of Naxal violence.

But that does not mean that the policy of treating it as a socio-economic problem and not merely as a law and order problem has been given up. The national CMP has also stated, "The UPA is concerned with the growth of extremist violence and other forms of terrorist activity in different states. This is not merely a law and order problem, but a far deeper socio-economic issue, which will be addressed more meaningfully than has been the case so far. False encounters will not be permitted." Besides, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had set up the AICC Task Force headed by former Andhra Pradesh minister M. Shashidhar Reddy and the report has also been submitted. The Congress remains committed to addressing the issue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the nagging problem.

Q: What is the thrust of the policy?

A: Tribal tracts and areas affected by Naxals are overlapping. The thrust of our policy approach is on development of the affected areas, which are often the breeding grounds of Maoists. If the tribal tracts are developed tribal rights are protected, it will go a long way in solving the problem.

Q: Any concrete moves set afoot in this direction?

A: In my own humble way, I have started Giri Pragathi in three predominantly tribal districts of Adilabad, Khammam and Warangal on September 5. It is a MPLADS-catalysed initiative for sustainable development of destitute tribal families in these three districts. Similarly, very soon I intend to launch Giri Unnathi Vidya for supporting the education of tribal girls.

The Andhra Pradesh government provides Rs 15,000 for MPs towards car allowance. I am putting it back into a fund.

This fund will finance 30 tribal girls in these three districts and help them to pursue higher education in professional courses like engineering, medicine, science, nursing, accountancy, computers, law and journalism. Yet another project in the offing is the Giri Bhoomi Nyayam.

This is a highly essential and desirable programme for recording land rights of the tribals in the forest areas.

Q: The National Advisory Council has played a major role in formulating the National Rural Employment Bill. But it is said that the Bill has been brought under pressure from the Left. How do you have to say about it?

A: The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre brought the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, as it was one of the major commitments of the Congress, which was also listed in the NCMP. It was under implementation for a long time as a scheme of the government during the tenures of the three Congress Prime Ministers — Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao — but now it has been given a legal guarantee for the first time now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like the language changed from Rhetoric and Threats to Weak Squeals and Bent knees.

He closes his talk saying he just returned from singing..but then he has shooting pain over night!!!

Language of guns, and Violence is to be answered by bloodshed alone!

Keep up ur good work...Will talk to ya soon...

Stress takes its toll on Gaddar

Hyderabad, Aug. 22: The renewed ban on Naxals and the arrest of fellow writers seem to have taken its toll on balladeer Gaddar. Apparently to evade arrest, he has decided to go to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for treatment.

As Chilakaluripet police camped in the city, apparently to arrest him, the popular balladeer visited Care Hospital on Monday for a check up. Gaddar, who still has a bullet embedded in his spine, told this correspondent that he was suffering severe pain in that area. “My health has deteriorated because of the stress and tension of the latest developments,” he said. “They shot at me on April 6, 1997. Since then I am living with this bullet. Whenever there is strain, the pain increases.” According to the balladeer, the severe heat had also wearied him.

“Doctors at Care Hospital have asked me to take complete rest,” he said. “If they arrest me, it will be very difficult for me to get medical treatment. I am a patient.”
While in New Delhi, Gaddar would try to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who praised him the other day for his condemnation of the killing of innocents. “I will urge him to protect freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” he said. “I want to translate my songs to Hindi and present them to the Prime Minister.”

Gaddar pointed out that “70 per cent peace” would come on its own if police stopped encounters. “There shall be no more killings of innocents on both sides,” he said. “We are emissaries for talks and peace-loving people. Why do they want to arrest us?” Even during the time of Chenna Reddy, NTR and Chandrababu Naidu, emissaries were not arrested. “Why are they doing it now?” asked Gaddar.

“Now they are saying that ban on Virasam would be lifted,” he said. “How can it be possible after issuing a notification”? The balladeer does not believe that his sudden trip to Delhi would be seen as lack of commitment to the cause. “I am singing and I will sing for the people till the last breath,” he said. “Even today I have come back after singing at a meeting.”