Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maoists banned as terrorist outfit

HERALD CORRESPONDENT

NEW DELHI, JUNE 22

Ignoring the ruling Left Front of West Bengal’s stand to fight out the Maoists politically, the Centre on Monday banned the Communist Party of India(Maoist), the umbrella organisation of the Naxalite violence in the country, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

A Home Ministry source said the decision to ban it as a terrorist organisation was taken at a high-level meeting.

It becomes the 35th organisation banned under the preventive law, coming in the company of outfits like Lashkar e Toiba (LeT), Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that are in the list of banned outfits.

Home Minister P Chidamaram said the CPI(Maoist) was formed by merging the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninists) — CPI-ML and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) that were already the banned organisations and hence it was too included in the schedule of the banned oranisations. Another Naxal outfit in the schedule is the People’s War Group of Andhra Pradesh.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had agreed to Home Minister P Chidambaram’s suggestion to give a serious thought to proscribe the Naxals last week when the former came calling here to seek the Centre’s help to break their seige of Lalgarh.

As such, the ruling Congress spokesman Shakil Ahmed on Monday scoffed at the division in his Left Front to oppose the ban and insisted that it will counter the outfit politically.

In a statement in Kolkata, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said: “We have decided that such outfits, which follow misguided politics, cannot be countered by banning them. It is important to counter the activities of these outfits politically.”
Ridiculing Biman’s claim that the leftists’ political fight against the “misguided politics” of the Maoists was already on, Shakil Ahmed said at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) press briefing that the idea is pious but no government can stand as a meek spectator to the killings of innocent civilians and personnel police and paramilitary forces.

He exhorted all seven Naxal-affected States to come out with a white paper on the current situation in their areas. The law and order is a state subject and hence State governments have the onus to explain what all has to be done and what kind of help it wants from the Centre, Ahmed said.

He pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has gone on record several times that the Naxalite problem was the biggest challenge to the nation and as such the Centre has taken many initiatives, including formation of a Cobra Force at a cost of Rs 1,300 crore and grant of Rs 500 crore to the affected States to modernise their police force.

BJP STAND: BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Centre cannot wash off its hands by putting the Maoists on the banned list of organisation. It is a national problem and needs to be tackled at this level, on the same lines on which the government constituted the federal agency to handle the menace of terrorism, he said.
He quoted in this regard Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s remarks at the BJP national executive here on Sunday that Lalgarh should serve as an eye-opener for the Centre that it can no longer afford to treat Naxal terrorism as a law and order problem to be handled by States alone.

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