Sunday, April 11, 2010

Maoists blow up school, hospital

- Leaders remain locked in war of words
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Not secure enough
Patna, April 11: Maoists blew up four government buildings in two south Bihar districts even as leaders remained locked in a war of words and stayed divided on the issue of dealing with rebels.

No one was injured in the incident.

A day after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar advised Union home minister P. Chidambaram to practise “restraint and speak less” on the Maoist issue, the guerrillas razed a middle school, a community hall and a primary health centre at Sarodag village in Kaimur district.

In another incident, guerrillas blew up a middle school under Dev police station in Aurangabad district.

The Maoists have been selectively targeting schools and community buildings to keep security forces at bay. The security forces usually set up their camps in government buildings, including schools and community halls.

The rebels have blown up at least 30 schools buildings and community halls in Maoist-affected districts in the past four months.

Nitish Kumar’s advice to Union home minister in the wake of Maoists killing 76 CRPF jawans recently has evoked sharp reaction within the state.

While the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president, Anil Sharma, accused Nitish of “soft peddling” with the Maoists who were “at war to obliterate the state’s authority and rule of law”, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan asked Nitish Kumar to clear his stand on the Naxalite issue.

“Instead of giving sermons to Chidambaram, Nitish should clarify his policies on controlling Naxalites,” Paswan told reporters here today.

The chief minister had said that Chidambaram should work more and speak less and control his “tone and tenor”, following the Dantewada massacre.

Paswan charged the JD(U)-BJP government in the state of not being serious in solving the Naxalite problem and pointed out that Kumar had skipped the high-level meeting of chief ministers convened by Chidambaram in Calcutta recently.

Many believe that the chief minister does not want to antagonise Maoists and their supporters who have their way in the vast majority of the state’s districts in the run-up to the Assembly elections due in October/November.

His predecessor, Lalu Prasad, was also known for his soft attitude towards Maoists. The Maoist leadership has expressed appreciation for Nitish Kumar not attending the Chidambaram-sponsored meeting and opposing Operation Greenhunt.

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