Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Raman Singh defends Salwa Judum, calls for coordinated effort to tackle Maoists

21 Apr 2009, 2007 hrs IST, Nageshwar Patnaik , ET Bureau

BHUBANESWAR: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Tuesday underscored the need for an integrated action plan by the Centre in proper
coordination with states to end Maoist menace in the country.

“If an integrated action plan envisaging coordinated efforts by the Maoist-affected states is not taken up, then it will be difficult to fight the Maoists. Peace meal approach by individual states will not help in eradicating the Maoist problem,” Mr Singh told reporters here.

Mr Singh was on a day’s visit to Orissa to campaign for his party-BJP. He emphasized on the need for coordinated efforts by these states to keep a vigil on the inter-state boundaries in order to effectively counter the Maoists. Besides sharing intelligence, there should be joint operations along the borders. These should be the main features of the proposed integrated action plan, he added.

“The main reason behind our failure to tackle the menace is due to lack of seriousness in executing the plans made to counter them at the ground level”, he remarked.

He, however, strongly defended Salwa Judum, a tribal force raised in Chhattisgarh to take on the Maoists. The ultras are on the defensive today only because of the Salwa Judum, he said, adding, it was created to curb Naxal violence, not to target a particular force.

Mr Singh said his government had taken up several welfare measures for the development of tribals in the Maoist-infested areas, which wooed them away from the ultras.

“The tribals have now started realising that the Maoists are not their messiahs but bandits. The change in attitude of the tribals towards the red rebels has helped the security personnel in Chhattisgarh to get success in operations against the extremists”, he said.

While four districts in Chhattisgarh are worst hit by the problem, five others are partially affected. “We are confident that we will be able to totally eliminate Maoists in coming four to five years”, he added

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