Saturday, August 15, 2009

Maoist violence will be crushed: PM

IANS 15 August 2009, 10:30am IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday maintained that the government would "redouble its efforts" to deal with Maoist violence, even
as he emphasised that "democracy has no place for those who resort to violence."

Speaking from the Red Fort on India's Independence Day, the prime minister, who has described leftist extremism as the country's biggest internal security threat, said all efforts would be made to reduce the social and economic disparities that provide sustenance to the Maoist insurgents who hold sway in vast swathes of the country.

"Some parts of our country continue to be affected by the Naxalite menace. It is the constitutional obligation of the government to protect the life and liberty of our citizens. Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the strength of our democracy," said the prime minister.

"The central government will redouble its efforts to deal with Naxalite activities. We will extend all help to the state governments to make their police forces more effective. Central forces will be provided wherever they are needed. We will also do more to ensure better coordination among states."

While stressing that the government had to be sensitive to people's complaints and frustrations, Manmohan Singh pointed there would be room for those indulging in violence.

"I also maintain that every government should be sensitive to people's complaints and dissatisfaction. But nothing is achieved by destroying public property and indulging in violence against one's fellow citizens. Our democracy has no place for those who resort to violence to express their disagreement, and the government will deal firmly with such people," he said.

The country has witnessed 1,128 incidents of Maoist-related violence till June 30 that have left 455 civilians and security forces dead.

The prime minister is expected to spell out the government's long-term strategy in combating Maoist violence at an internal security meeting of chief ministers on Monday.

After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that left over 170 dead, the prime minister said the government had taken several steps to shore up the intelligence machinery and upgrade systems.

"To root out terrorist activities, our security forces and intelligence agencies are being constantly upgraded. I am sure that with cooperation from all sections of our society, we will be successful in eliminating terrorism from our country."

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