Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Chidambaram tells Maoists to abjure violence

By Jayatri Nag
Posted On Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 02:10:40 AM
Kolkata: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has set a six month-deadline to reclaim the Naxalite dominated areas through a “slow and steady” offensive, which will be a “careful, calibrated and controlled operation,” he said.



Chidambaram

He was attending a marathon meeting in Kolkata to review the status of operations in Maoist-infested states of Jharkhand, Bihar. However, he extended his invitation to the red rebels for talks again once they “abjure violence.”

Chidambaram sent out loud signals that a two-pronged attack — inter state and intra states — is about to begin. “Our purpose is not to kill anyone, as Maoists are also Indian citizens. But our object is to reclaim the authority of the civil administration in the Naxalite-infested areas,” said Chidambaram, adding that the offensive will be followed by developmental works by the chief ministers in the respective states.

“My appeal to Naxals (as the leftwing guerrillas are known) is to halt violence and we are we are prepared to talk to you,” the minister said.

Expressing his satisfaction about the progress of the operations in the Eastern states, Chidambaram also cited the arrests of some key Maoist leaders. “I am quite satisfied with work in the states though there are some inadequacies. We will stress and weaknesses and continue the operations,” he said.

Chidambaram met the CMs of Bengal and Orissa, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Navin Patnaik, Deputy Chief Ministers of Jharkhand Raghuvar Das and Sudesh Mahto and top officials of Jharkhand, Bengal and Bihar.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Jharkhand CM Sibu Soren however skipped the crucial meeting. Responding to Nitish’s reported remarks on the use of violence, Chidambaram said, “I had extensive meetings with Nitish Kumar. We believe use of force alone will not solve the problem. However, in order to end violence it is necessary to use force.”

When asked about CPI-M secretary general Prakash Karat and Bhattacharya’s repeated allegations about Mamata having close ties with the Maoists, Chidambaram said, “Nobody is colluding with Maoists. Maoists are fighting the state-they are against the parliamentary system, any party believing in parliamentary democracy could not collude with the Maoists.”

He however added, “Banerjee told me that our (anti-Naxal) operations in West Midnapur have not yielded the results we hoped to achieve when we started the operation. I have noted her point of view.”

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