Thursday, December 08, 2005

NAXALITE TERRORISTS are 'brothers and sisters' , Home Minister Shivraj Patil

Patil insists on talks with naxals

Special Correspondent

He says they are our brothers and sisters

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Wednesday underlined the importance of dialogue in tackling naxalite violence in States.

Replying to last week's discussion in the Rajya Sabha on national security, he said it was difficult to agree with Arun Shourie's (BJP) suggestion not to talk to naxalites or allot funds for development in affected areas. ``We are talking to [people on] the other side of the border, in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East. It was due to dialogue that Mizoram is peaceful and there was no violence in Nagaland because the Government was engaged in discussions with militant groups.''

Dialogue, he said, was one of the methods to solve the issue. ``They [the naxalites] are our brothers and sisters. What is wrong if we call those who are born in India as our brothers and sisters? They could be angry, they could be misled. But one should not conclude that they should be tackled only with bullets,'' he said, reiterating his earlier statement that was ridiculed by Mr. Shourie.

At the same time, the Home Minister was confident that the naxalite problem would not become an insurmountable problem for the Government. ``Naxalite activity is on the increase, yet I would not say it has increased to an extent presented in the House. Not all districts mentioned are affected. One affected village or hamlet does not mean that the entire district is affected. The country is big and strong, it won't be cowed down by a few arms.''

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