Saturday, April 17, 2010

South Asia emerging as 'focal point' for all terrorist organisations : Antony

2010-04-17 00:10:00

Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday said the South Asian region is emerging as the 'focal point' for all terrorist organisations.

The situation is very critical and sensitive," he claimed, while speaking on the sidelines of a Unified Commanders' Conference here.

Antony said the Central Government would take a final call on the use of armed forces against the Maoists only after considering all aspects.

"Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has decided that the Home Ministry would be the nodal point on the Naxal problem," said Antony.

"The armed forces have to be ever ready to meet the challenges," he added.

Stating that Naxalites want to overthrow the established authority of the Government through armed liberation struggle, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had on Thursday said the country needs a strong head, a stronger heart and enormous staying power to counter the Maoist menace.

Making a detailed statement in the Rajya Sabha on the Dantewada massacre, in which at least 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and a policeman were killed by the Maoists, Chidambaram reiterated the Centre's readiness to assist State Governments in tackling the problem at hand.

"To counter the menace of Naxalism we need 'a strong head, a stronger heart and enormous staying power,' I believe that the Government has all three qualities," Chidambaram said.

"The Central Government stands ready and willing to assist the State Governments and to coordinate inter-State operations," he added.

Brushing aside reports that 62nd CRPF battalion was ill trained, Chidambaram emphatically said all personnel of the battalion were well trained to handle anti Maoists operation.

hidambaram strongly defended Government's right to deploy security forces in conflict zones to bring back normalcy and kick start development works.

"The State has a legitimate right to deploy its security forces to resist, apprehend and, if necessary, neutralize militants who are determined to strike at the very roots of our nation," he said.

Chidambaram said the Government has adopted two strategies to counter Maoists menace-police action and development work.

"Anti-Naxal operations are being conducted in accordance with the policy deliberated and agreed upon at several meetings with Chief Ministers of the affected States. The two pillars of the policy are calibrated police action and development," he said.

"Central para military forces have been provided to the affected States, including Chhattisgarh, to help the State Governments carry out counter-insurgency operations, regain control of areas dominated by the Naxalites, restore the civil administration, and re-start development work," Chidambaram added.

He said it's the primary responsibility of the State Governments to conduct anti Naxal operations.

Chidambaram acknowledged that forces are experiencing problem at some places to carry out operation due to more civilian presence.

Chidambaram informed the House that the Home Ministry has constituted a committee headed by retired Border Security Force (BSF) chief E.N. Ram Mohan to investigate the matter and urged members to wait till committee submits its report before reaching any final conclusions. (ANI)

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