Saturday, April 30, 2005

Create a separate corporation for Naxal-hit areas’ says BJP MLA Papareddy

Saturday April 30 2005 13:23 IST

RAICHUR: The State Government should constitute a separate corporation to take up welfare programmes for the people residing in Naxal-prone areas, BJP MLA A. Papareddy said on Friday.

He told media persons here that such a step would help prevent Naxals from taking advantage of the socio-economic imbalance and attracting youths into their fold.

Describing the recent meeting on Naxalism in Bangalore as a mere eyewash, he said there was no seriousness on the part of the Government to tackle the menace. Union Home Minister Shivaraj Patil -who headed the meeting -was in a hurry and did not pay heed to the views of the participants, he alleged.

‘‘The supporters of the Naxal movement disturbed the meeting right at the start by distributing handouts against the BJP. The meeting lasted for only fifteen minutes and hence the legislators from the Naxal-prone areas could not present their views and woes,’’ he charged.

Pointing out that the successive governments had not distributed lands to the landless poor in the region, he said most of the villages were facing acute drinking water problem.

‘‘Even now the government has not come forward to solve the water problem. In my constituency, 52 villages have only three high schools and only one hostel. In the name of border area development the government releases a meagre amount of Rs 5 lakhs to the district which would be distributed among Raichur and Manvi taluks.’’

He demanded that the Government sanction at least Rs 50 lakhs for development every year.

Expressing concern over the ‘‘thriving illicit liquor business in Raichur’’, Papareddy said while the State Government considered hooch deaths near Bangalore as serious, it was not using the same yardstrick for this region.

He warned of an agitation if the Government failed to take serious steps to curb illicit toddy manufacturing using dangerous chemicals. On VAT, the BJP MLA said the State Government should refrain from modifying the system. ‘‘In order to maintain uniformity, the state should implement whatever the Central Government has suggested.’’

Letter claims minister struck deal with Naxalites

Ranchi, Apr 30: A minister in the Arjun Munda cabinet today sought a probe into a letter purportedly written by a senior police official that he (minister) was facing the wrath of Naxalites for reneging on a pre-election deal that he would pay them Rs 25 lakh -- Rs 15 lakh before and the rest after winning the state assembly election from the Tamar seat.

The purported letter written by a police officer in the rank of IG was published in a Hindi daily here.

"I am shocked and surprised by a letter written by a senior police officer published in a newspaper this morning. I condemn the charges levelled against me with the motive of finishing off my political career," Welfare Minister Ramesh Singh Munda told a press conference here.

According to the letter, the minister's security needed to be beefed up as he had paid Rs 15 lakh to the Naxalites, but had not contacted them after he won, which had led them to demand Rs 50 lakh or else threaten to blast his paternal property in Tamar.

Demanding a high-level probe, Munda said it should be investigated how confidential letters from the police files were sometimes leaked. He had also sought an appointment with the Chief Minister and the Director General of Police S M Caire.

If the contents of the letter were true, he said, "I am surprised that the police did not question me."

Stating that he did not have any paternal property, Munda said "as far as the Naxal threat to my life is concerned, it has existed since my first tenure as a minister (in 2002).

Bureau Report

Jharkhand legislators face Naxal taint

Indo-Asian News Service

Ranchi, April 30, 2005

Jharkhand's politicians are being haunted by their alleged Naxal links, with the resignation of a minister being demanded and an arrested ultra naming a Left legislator who had been given a helping hand during assembly polls two months ago.

A legislator of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has demanded that Welfare Minister Ramesh Singh Munda be dismissed for allegedly striking an Rs 2.5 million deal with the Naxals for their help during the election campaign.s for their help during the election campaign.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) RC Kaithal made the charge in a letter he wrote to the Government before the election on providing extra security to Munda. The minister has denied the charge.

"(Kaithal's) report indicates that Munda enjoys relations with the Naxalites (Maoists). He should be dismissed immediately," JD-U legislator Radha Krishna Kishore said in a statement.

"Two sets of rules will not work. If a villager gives food to the extremists, he is arrested. Why should the minister not be dismissed," Kishore wondered.

Leader of Opposition Sudhir Mahto has also demanded Munda's resignation.

"The minister should be sacked. An FIR should be lodged against him and he should be interrogated for his links with the Naxalites," Mahto said.

Annapurna Devi, a legislator of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, has also joined in the chorus against Munda.

"Not only Munda, but other ministers have also won with the help of Naxalites," she charged, without taking any names.

Meanwhile, an arrested woman Naxal has told the police that the ultras had provided money and other help to Forward Block legislator Bahaupratap Dehati to enable win the assembly election.

Deokalia Devi, an "area commander", said that "zonal commander" Kameshwar Baitha had campaigned in favour of Dehati. Voters were told they would be beaten up if they did not vote for Dehati.

The legislator has refuted the charge and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Jharkhand politicians being accused of Naxal links is nothing new, police say.

"We have proof that half-a-dozen politicians enjoying support of the Naxalites and took their help in the assembly and Lok Sabha election but we cannot take action," said a police officer.

Politicians do make deals with Naxals?

Jharkhand IGP says Minister offered 25 lakh to Naxals
for poll win

MANOJ PRASAD Posted online: Saturday, April
30, 2005 at 0211 hours IST

RANCHI, APRIL 29: A month after the Arjun Munda
government returned to power amidst high drama in
Jharkhand, its Welfare Minister has been accused by an
Inspector General of Police of entering into a poll
pact with Naxals who control large swathes of
territory in the state.

R C Kaithal, IG (Operations and Law and Order), has
written to SPs of Naxal-infested districts, saying he
has information that Welfare Minister Ramesh Singh
Munda, who contested the Tamar Assembly seat
successfully—it was his second win—on a JD(U) ticket,
entered into a poll pact with Naxalites.

Kaithal’s April 7 letter stated that Munda had
contacted Naxals for their ‘‘help’’ during the polls
and had struck a deal, offering them Rs 25 lakh in
exchange for support.

According to the IGP, Rs 15 lakh was to be paid to the
Naxals before the election and Rs 10 lakh after the
seat was won.

Because ‘‘the Honorable Minister had not established
contact’’, the Naxals were now demanding Rs 50 lakh.

The Naxals, the IGP wrote, had become very active in
the Tamar area. ‘‘To create terror, they can
perpetrate any crime and even the ancestral house of
the Honorable Minister may be exploded. In this
regard, take appropriate action and inform the
undersigned,’’ Kaithal instructed the SPs.

Not many in Jharkhand are surprised. Kaithal’s letter
simply confirms what people have long suspected:
politicians, cutting across party lines, have been
turning to Naxals to secure votebanks and push their

But Munda is livid. ‘‘The IG’s move is part of a
conspiracy. I have no relations with Naxals.’’ He even
waved photocopies of the Assembly vote break-up:
‘‘See, in Naxal-controlled areas of my constituency, I
got very few votes.’’

Friday, April 29, 2005

Govt ready to continue Naxal talks: Andhra CM ( Congress leaders gone Chukoo)

Press Trust of India

Hyderabad, April 29, 2005

Undeterred by the growing Naxalite violence, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy on Friday said his Government was ready to continue talks with Maoists in the interests of lasting peace in the state.
Stating that extremist violence had become hindrance for development of backward regions, he said the Pradesh Congress Committee and the Government were sincere in carrying forward the dialogue process.

The Chief Minister was speaking after the unanimous re-election of the state Congress President K Kesava Rao to the post for another term.

Reddy exuded confidence that Congress would get elected for another five-year term, if the party organisation and Government worked in cohesion.

He said his Government had grounded an action plan to fulfill all the promises made to the people before the elections.

"Be it peace talks with Naxalites, free power to farmers housing, land distribution or women empowerment, we have initiated steps for fulfillment of all the promises,"
Reddy said.

Maoist NAXALITES set ablaze 13 vehicles in Andhra

Press Trust of India

Adilabad, April 29, 2005

Maoists ultras burnt down 13 vehicles, including nine tractors and a car, in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh to protest a recent encounter.

Nearly eight armed Naxals, belonging to Mangi Dalam, went to the forest areas between Tiryani and Lingapur and set the vehicles afire on Thursday night, police said on Friday.

The Maoists left a note in which they claimed that "the act was to protest against the Rajasekhara Reddy government's anti-democractic policy", police added.

SHIVRAJ PATIL : NAXALS and terrorists are my " brothers and sisters"

Imperatives of justice

KPS Gill

For decades, India's leadership has floundered in a miasma of sentimentality, of a false, confused and disastrous rhetoric that has enormously empowered the enemies of the law, of the state, and of civilisation. Worse, it has yielded policies that have directly undermined the capacities of enforcement agencies to effectively confront a wide range of extremely violent political actors who have persistently employed the methods of terrorism - repeatedly targeting innocent civilians and non-combatants, including women, children and the poorest of the poor. Vast areas of the country have, consequently and progressively, been surrendered to lawlessness and disorder.

Finally, however, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke out with exemplary clarity on the issue of terrorism at the Chief Minister's Conference at New Delhi on April 15, 2005, raising hopes - indeed, creating a measure of conviction - that the confusion and vacillation of the past was finally to be expelled from the national policy-framework.

Within ten days, however, the Prime Minister's perspective and position came under challenge from his own Minister of Home Affairs, exposing the incoherence of the present regime and making a mockery of the idea of collective Cabinet responsibility. It is useful to analyse the conflicting positions that are presently being projected from these two sources at the highest level of the Government.

Leaving no room for ambiguity, the Prime Minister had stated, "There can be no political compromise with terror. No inch conceded. No compassion shown... There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists. There is no cause, root or branch, that can ever justify the killing of innocent people. No democratic Government can tolerate the use of violence against innocent people and against the functionaries of a duly established democratic Government." He added, further, that "there is no place for violence and extremism of any kind in a democratic, rule-based society". Specifically referring to the tendency to underplay the growing dangers of Left Wing extremism (Naxalism), he emphasised the "inter-State and external dimension to Naxalism today. This requires greater coordination between State Governments and between the Centre and States. We have to take a comprehensive approach in dealing with Naxalism given the emerging linkages between groups within and outside the country..." And while he did state that the option of negotiations "should always be welcomed", he made it clear that this avenue could be pursued only with groups that abjured violence: "...the basic issues regarding violence and the state's obligation to curb it should be clarified at the outset, so that there are no misunderstandings or a feeling of being let down at later stages. In our country, symbols and gestures matter. Nothing should be done which detracts from the authority of the Indian state and its primary role as an upholder of public order. The state should not even remotely be seen to back away in the face of threats of armed violence."

NAXALS and TERRORISTS are my " brothers and sisters" also my Children -- Home Minister of India Mr.Shivraj Patil

In sharp contrast, on April 24, 2005, at a high level meeting with Ministers, Government officials, Opposition leaders and intellectuals at Bangalore, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil stated: "The Government is not interested in using weapons. They (the Naxalites) are our brothers and sisters and we know that this is a socio-economic problem rather than one of law and order. We can solve these problems through dialogue and discussions... Whatever the political difficulties, force should be used only if nothing else works and only to protect innocents. Let us deal with Naxalism as a socio-economic problem, not a law and order problem..." He did, of course, concede a secondary role to "policing", declaring, "good policing is... important for development", but his general orientation was squarely located in the "root causes" approach to terrorism that his Prime Minister had explicitly rejected.

It is evident that both these postulations have been stated with obvious sincerity, but are clearly irreconcilable within a coherent policy framework. Those who are familiar with the dynamics of governance would recognise immediately how devastating this can be; all administrative organisations - including the senior police leadership - operate within a political and policy framework, and any ambivalence, confusion, contradiction or muddleheadedness at the top of the policy pyramid impacts directly on their functioning.

In addressing them as "our brothers and sisters", and in an earlier speech, as "our children" the Home Minister has sought to establish an entirely specious distinction between "Naxalites" and other "terrorists". The truth is, all criminals - and this includes terrorists and others engaged in political crime - are at some level "our children" and "our brothers and sisters". They cannot, on this account, escape the imperatives of the justice system. Crucially, moreover, the victims of such terrorists and criminals are also "our children" and "brothers and sisters", and it is the state's primary duty to protect these vulnerable groups, rather than to seek to circumvent the law and extend extraordinary indulgences on those who torture, maim, murder and otherwise terrorise helpless citizens - citizens who continue to abide by the law, and expect the state to protect their lives and properties. To the Naxalites' victims, it matters little whether his Government is negotiating with those who terrorise him, or whether it regards them as a "law and order" or a "social" problem; their primary concern is the terror that is inflicted on them.

Worse, what is not understood by those who treat the Naxalites - or "Maoists", as they now style themselves - as a "special case" and seek a negotiated solution with them, is just how irreducibly opposed to our constitutional democracy these groups are, and how integral terrorism is to their strategy. Terror is not just an accidental element of their political strategy or military tactics; it is an essential, dictated by the ideological vision they have embraced. Mao Tse Tung declared explicitly, "To put it bluntly, it is necessary to create terror for a while in every rural area, or otherwise it would be impossible to suppress the activities of the counter-revolutionaries in the countryside or overthrow the authority of the gentry. Proper limits have to be exceeded in order to right a wrong, or else the wrong cannot be righted." The truth is, even if the traditional "class enemies" of the Maoists were all eliminated, they would continue to invent them, in order to inflict their terror. Even today, it is not the rich and the powerful who fall victim to "Maoist" violence - these can always, with rare exception, successfully bribe both the Naxalites and the politicians, each of whom is quite happy with the absence of effective administration that gives them a free run in vast areas. It is, overwhelmingly and in all theatres of such conflict, the poorest of the poor who are maimed, tortured and killed.

Policy makers are ordinarily told whatever they want to hear. But India's leaders should visit the sites of history where terrorists have - however briefly - prevailed, and should have the writings of extremist ideologues translated into a language comprehensible to our policy community, so that they can learn from the awful experience of other societies, instead of inviting comparable misfortunes on the people of this country.

Finally, it is the primary and overarching duty of the state to protect its citizens from the depredations and violence of those who refuse to accept the authority of its laws. It is time the Indian state and its Home Minister stop fabricating excuses for those who use violence against the State and its vulnerable citizens, and fulfilled their fundamental obligation to their people.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Naxalites aka CPI(Maoist) in the US list of terrorist outfits

US names Al-Mansoorian, ULFA, CPI(Maoist) as terrorist outfits

April 28, 2005 20:40 IST
Last Updated: April 28, 2005 23:01 IST

Taking forward the Indo-US cooperation to counter terrorism, the US has put Al-Mansoorian, a shadow outfit of the Lashker-e-Taiba operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam's outlawed insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom and Naxal group Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the list of terrorist outfits.

While Al-Mansoorian has been categorised as Foreign Terrorist Organisation, which will enable authorities to seal the properties of the outfit, ULFA and the CPI (Maoist) were put in the list of Other Selected Terrorist Organisation, which are to be kept under watch.

Releasing its report '2004 Country Reports on Terrorism' on Wednesday, the US State Department expanded the description of the LeT, already banned in December 2000, by adding its various names, including Al-Mansoorian, in the FTO list.

Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadit, Pasban-e-Ahlehadis, Army of Pure, The Army of Pure and Righteous -- all of them are shadow outfits of Lashker -- have also been included in the list.

The report said the elements of Lashker and Jaish-e-Mohammed combined with other groups to mount attacks in Jammu and Kashmir under the name of 'Save Kashmir Movement'.

Almost all Lashker members are Pakistani from madrasas across Pakistan and Afghan war veterans, the report said.

It also named ULFA in the OSTO list, as it has been continuously been targeting civilians. Groups on this list are terrorist organisations that do not target the national security of the US or its citizens.

It took note of ULFA's alleged use of extortion to finance military training and weapons purchases. The report said the outfit might have linkages with other ethnic insurgent groups active in neighbouring states, and receives aid from "unknown external sources".

With regard to Naxalites, the report said primary Naxalite groups took steps towards consolidation by combining to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Recovery of rocket-like tubes worries Andhra police

Recovery of rocket-like tubes worries Andhra police

Hyderabad, April 25 : The recovery of rocket-like metal tubes with percussion caps from an arms dump of Maoist rebels in Andhra Pradesh is worrying the state police.

These tubes, believed to be filled with explosives and capable of being launched from rocket launchers, were recovered from an arms dump unearthed in Anantapur district bordering Karnataka.

State police chief Swaranjit Sen told a news conference Monday the recovery of the pipes was a new challenge for his force and steps would be taken to neutralise these new weapons.

"At the end of the tubes there is a percussion cap. When the percussion cap hits something solid, it detonates the explosives within and that is how the explosion takes place. This is something very crude but this seems to be a new method that the Maoists are trying," Sen said.

During combing operations against the Maoists in the Nallamalla forests and in Anantapur over the past 90 days, several arms dumps of the Communist Party of India-Maoist were unearthed.

The weapons recovered from the dumps in the districts of Prakasam, Kunrool and Anantapur included three self-loading rifles, four 303 rifles and four double barrel guns, seven SBBL and 1 SBML gun, two air guns, one revolver, ammunition for weapons of various makes including AK-47 and Springfield rifles, 25 kg of gunpowder, 105 kg of gelatine, six live and 45 empty claymore mines, electrical fuses, detonators, grenades, grenade filling machines and other tools used in preparing claymore mines.

Stating that the police would continue its operations, Sen said: "Our intention will be to make a dent into this destructive industry they have formed and hopefully in the near future we will have more success."

He said the recovery of arms and explosives showed that the Maoists had misused a respite provided by peace talks with the government.

"The CPI-Maoist stepped up recruitment of new cadres and procurement of arms and explosives. The CPI-Maoist chose Nallamalla forests as a priority area to intensify their guerrilla war and dumped explosives in their hideouts there," he said.

Soon after coming to power in May last year, the Congress party had initiated peace talks with the Maoists. The first round of talks between the government and Maoists was held in October. However, the peace talks broke down in January and the eight-month ceasefire came to an abrupt end.

--Indo-Asian News Service

NAXALS aka Maoists blow up police outpost in Rayagada District , Orissa

For FOIL members these acts are "Impressive ", atleast for one activist Ms.Shalini Gera of Forst and Sullivan , USA .

Bhubaneswar, April 26: Suspected Communist Party of India (Maoist) activists last night blew up a police outpost in Seshkhal village under Ramanaguda police station of Rayagada district.

A group of eight Maoists asked the two policemen present there to come out and then used an explosive to blow up the outpost, Rayagada superintendent of police Sanjay Kumar said. There was no report of any casualty or injury.

A telephone handset kept in the outpost was seen hanging from a nearby coconut tree after the blast. This is the third Naxalite attack in the district in the past month. Police have seized a letter written in Telugu from the spot.

A camp of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is located about 5 km from the spot where the explosion took place. Sources said a joint team of CRPF and Orissa police later retaliated and an exchange of fire was on till reports last came in

Three killed as Maoist Naxals set off landmine

By Indo-Asian News Service

Hyderabad, April 27 ,2005 (IANS) Three people were killed and 10 injured when Maoists Wednesday triggered a landmine targeting a top police official in Ongole town of Andhra Pradesh, about 400 km from here.

District Superintendent of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha escaped unhurt but his vehicle was damaged in the blast in Prakasam district.

The Maoists tried to blow up Laddha's vehicle when he was returning home from office.

Police said three gunmen with Laddha received minor injuries. Laddha's vehicle caught fire while two tractors and a scooter passing by also bore the brunt of the blast that was heard in a radius of six km.

Police said that after triggering the blast, the guerillas hiding nearby opened fire on Laddha's vehicle but escaped after his three gunmen returned the fire.

The attack is also being seen as a revenge for the massive combing operations launched in Nallamalla forests spread over four districts.

State Home Minister K. Jana Reddy condemned the attack. This is the first landmine blast aimed at a top police official since the eight-month long ceasefire between the state government and the rebels broke down in January.

More than 175 people, including 12 policemen, have been killed in the last three and a half months. Over 6,000 people have died in Maoist violence during the last 35 years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Naxals and Maoists receiving sophisticated arms from abroad and international terrorists

A major disaster in the making – Naxals and Maoists receiving sophisticated arms from abroad and international terrorists

Naxalites and Maoists in India are receiving very sophisticated arms from Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries. These arms are sophisticated and these extremists have direct relationships with Al-Queda and similar terrorists organization. Government of India is taking action but it may be too little and too late before a massive massacre takes place in India.

According to media reports, Intensifying patrolling in Nallamalla forest area to check activities of Naxals, Andhra Pradesh police have unearthed 18 arms dumps in three districts and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition recently. The Director General of Police (DGP) Swaranjit Sen told reporters here on Monday that the Maoist ultras, taking advantage of respite in police patrol during peace talks, has recruited new cadre and procured a large number of arms and ammunitions. During raids on Maoist hideouts in Kurnool, Prakasam and Anantapur districts, police have seized the arms, he added. The seized arms include 200 kgs of gelatin, 585 rounds of 12 bore pistol, 398 rounds of .303 rifle, 190 rounds of 8mm pistol, 450 rounds of DBBL, 50 rounds of ak-47, six live claymore mines six, 45 empty claymore mines, 231 Claymor mine shells, 15 live grenades and 20 kgs of gun powder.

Monday, April 25, 2005

"Naxal problem has not acquired dangerous proportions in Ktk"

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today told the Karnataka Government not to project the naxal problem in the state in such a fashion that it "creates a fear psychosis".

The naxal problem in Karnataka had not acquired dangerous proportions, and it's not "difficult" to deal with it unlike some other states, he said at a meeting convened by the state government to discuss the problem.

But, he said, the policies being adopted by the state government in tackling the problem were correct.

Patil said conducting elections "does solve the problem of terrorism". In this context, he cited the examples of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

"Elections have reduced the problem of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir", he said.

The meet was attended by Ministers, representatives of political parties besides civil rights and social activists.

Heated arguments were witnessed at the meeting between BJP leaders B S Yediyurappa and D H Shankaramurthy and CPI(M) MLA Srirama Reddy.

While the BJP leaders objected to the circulation of a memorandum which they dubbed as "anti-BJP," the CPI(M) member took exception to the "language" they used before Patil interrupted to restore order.

Naxals: Patil for compassion

DH News Service Bangalore:

Mr Patil’s prescription for dealing with Naxalites included more employment opportunities.

Nearly a month after Chief Minister N Dharam Singh spoke of his intention to outlaw Naxalites and their frontal oragnisations if they declined to give up arms, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil advised the State government to deal with Naxals with “compassion”.

“Whatever the political difficulties, force should be used only if nothing else works and only to protect innocents. Let us deal with Naxalism as a socio-economic problem, not a law and order problem,” said Mr Patil at in a high-level meeting with government functionaries, Ministers, Opposition leaders and intellectuals.

Amidst heated discussions, Mr Patil said the problem had not reached “dangerous proportions” in Karnataka and should not be blown out of proportion to spread fear among the people.

If any provision of the Forest Act was either an obstruction to development or causing grievance, the Centre was open to discuss and amend the Act.

Further, he advised the State government to start an employment guarantee scheme on the lines of Maharashtra to generate jobs in backward and tribal areas. “Sometimes, governments think it’s important to pump funds into education, power and irrigation. But we’ve concluded after studying the issue that good policing is as important for development. Unless you have security, there can be no development; fund strengthening of the police force,” the Union Minister declared.

The Centre has asked the Planning Commission to consider, on priority basis, the State’s requests for funds to develop Naxal-affected areas.

Different opinions came to the fore with scholars and MLAs suggesting that Naxals be first asked to give up arms before any talks. Others felt that implementing land reforms efficiently and providing basic amenities such as education would help people give up extremism. They felt that the government should stop all “fake encounters”.

Writer U R Ananthamurthy pointed out that people took to violent agitations as non-violent ones such as that of Medha Patkar’s had not drawn any response from the Centre.

Responding, Mr Patil asked the State to assess the reality of implementation of land reforms and redistribution of surplus land among the tillers.

Mr Patil said a separate special meeting would be convened to discuss the problem of dealing with adivasis in the Kudremukh area.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Naxal activity in Karnataka not alarming: Patil

Tumkur (Karnataka), Apr 24: Asserting that naxal activities in Karnataka have not increased as much as in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said efforts by the state in developing the economy of the affected region would halt the spread of naxalism.

"The state government has taken steps and some incidents have taken place. Now, you can't say that for this reason, it (naxal attacks) has increased (in Karnataka). But you also cannot deny that naxal activity is not there," Patil told reporters in an apparent reference to police action against naxals.

Patil, who came here to attend the 98th birthday celebrations of the Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga Mutt, said there was more naxal activity in Andhra Pradesh while in Karnataka there had been couple of incidents which cannot be "termed as increasing."

Pointing out that law and order was a state issue, Patil said the Dharam Singh government was taking steps to combat naxal activities and the centre had assured all assistance in this regard.

He said naxal activities had to be handled by developing the economy of the difficult areas and employment should be provided to the youth besides developing good roads, schools and colleges in the region.

"I am sure that the state government is making efforts in this issue. We will offer all help (to the state for improving the economy of the affected regions," Patil said.

Bureau Report