Saturday, June 27, 2009

Govt to resolutely combat Maoists

;Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, 26 JUNE: Asserting that the government will resolutely combat the Maoists and ensure an end to all violent activities, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said it is a “long battle ahead and it will take time” as “we have neglected it over the last 10 years.”
Briefly interacting with the media after visiting Koraput and Kandhamal districts , Mr Chidambaram sought to end the persistent demand by states for more central para military forces to tackle the menace by stating: ‘ in West Bengal I laid down a rule telling the state that they should deploy the state police force and for each such company of state police I will provide one company of para military force’
This rule applies to all states, he added in an apparent reference to the Orissa government’s repeated plea for additional central forces.
Fighting naxals is primarily the duty of the state police. The state should deploy more forces to combat the naxals , the centre can only lend support, he said. The Home Minister, however, went on to say that the center will extend all possible support to naxal affected states.
He also referred to the submission made by the state government that it had recruited 4000 policemen and they were being trained. As and when these human resources are deployed to take on the naxals, the centre will provide forces, he said.
The CPI –Maoists have always been and is now an official terrorist organisation. We cannot let the Maoists yield ground and we will overcome the menace, he said. Replying to a question on whether the army was required to battle the Maoists, Mr Chidambaram was emphatic in stating that police was competent enough to do the job.
He said the Orissa government had drawn up a plan of action and strategy which will be examined and incorporated . “The plans are underway and whatever assistance is required will be given but one must bear in mind that many states are affected and the centre has to send forces to these states. So, the states must improve its forces and deploy more police to fight the Maoists,” he said. Answering a question on the land mine explosions taking a heavy toll on policemen and para military personnels, Mr Chidambaram said sadly precious lives were lost and that is why one should ensure that the standard operating procedure is not violated while moving in naxal infested areas.
Asked about the state governmnet’s demand for a helicopter , the Home Minister said it will be provided when required.
As against the clear stand or rule on providing para military forces to states, chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik however stood firm in demanding at least seven more battalion of central forces and a dedicated helicopter. He drew comparisons between the number of central forces deployed in neighbouring naxal affected states like Chhatisgarh to justify his demand. Mr Patnaik also sought more funds, at least Rs 40 crore under the Security Related Expenditure scheme, a one time Rs 10 crore assistance for anti naxal training and Rs 20 crore for constable training.

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