Monday, April 19, 2010

'A divided govt is liability in its fight against Naxalism'

Leader of Opposition in RS during the Dantewada Massacre debate

Arun Jaitley / April 18, 2010, 0:30 IST

We strongly condemn the massacre of our patriotic security personnel by the Naxalites. Chhattisgarh is a state that has geared up to fight the menace of Naxalism more than any other state and yet this is a great setback to us to demoralise our operations. I stand here not to apportion the blame but to increase the resolve in the fight against Naxalism.

The UPA government wasted the five years in its first term by neither understanding the problem nor suggesting a solution. The Naxalite activities grew in this period. When the present home minister took over, we had some hope that at least he understood the problem. But the developments of the last few days have saddened us. Saddened not because our security forces suffered a temporary setback, but because in the middle of a battle - a battle which this nation cannot afford to lose - we find that the home minister is crippled by his own party and colleagues. The home minister said we needed a strong mind, a strong heart and staying power to fight the Naxalites. What you have said is true, but a divided government, a divided UPA, and a divided Congress Party have become a liability in the fight against Naxalism.

The general secretary of the Congress Party, in a signed article, says the home minister has 'intellectual arrogance'. 'It is development and not security action which will fight the Naxalites'. Mani Shankar Aiyar agrees with him; and Mamata Banerjee made a statement that there were no Naxalites in Lalgarh. She has called for suspending the joint operations. She has further called for arresting the West Bengal chief minister.

Look at the paradox. We, the Opposition, could have attacked the government, but we chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with it. We refrained from asking for the home minister's resignation, because we did not want Naxalites to rejoice. When the home minister made a snide remark against the West Bengal chief minister, the latter acted with a sense of maturity. The whole of Opposition and the nation want the battle against Naxalites to succeed. Unfortunately, the government, the UPA and the Congress Party are divided. Some want the home minister to fall, some dispute his approach, some have ideologically gheraoed him. When the security forces want air force, another department of the government denies it. Did the home minister behave like the injured soldier because of this. The home minister is responsible for India's security. He cannot be seen as an injured soldier gheraoed by his own party. The home minister will have to eventually decide where he stands in this conflict. Does he stand for a fight to finish against the Naxalites? Does he stand with the nation or he succumbs to the party's discipline and gives up the fight. It is the Congress Party that is becoming a liability in this battle against Naxalism.

What are the objects of the Naxalite movement?

The object of the Naxalite movement is to capture the Indian state through armed insurgency. They want to overthrow the government. They want a system of ideological dictatorship, no ballot, no enterprise, no freedom and no fundamental rights. They want to achieve it through a guerrilla army. They want to capture the rural areas. They want these to become secluded islands of their authority. They thrive in poverty and, therefore, do not want development in any backward area. They extort money from contractors, farmers, employees and traders. They recruit cadres by paying them Rs 3,000 per person per month. They snatch weapons from the armoury of the government. Their extortion amount is Rs 1,500 crore a year. They believe power flows from the barrel of the gun. They believe that the enemy's armoury (police weapons) is their armoury. They want to encircle the cities and then capture power. They earlier wanted to kill class enemies, now they call them police informers. They use opium and poppy cultivation to collect money.

Do you want to go by the advice of Mamata Banerjee, Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar? And where police cannot enter, send in engineers to build roads and schools, get kidnapped, looted and killed? You will first have to break the iron wall of these secluded areas. You will then have to continue development.

(Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley during debate over the Dantewada Massacre in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday)

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