Friday, April 16, 2010

Dantewada, a wake-up call: PC

Anita Saluja
First Published : 16 Apr 2010 03:24:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 16 Apr 2010 10:58:59 AM IST

NEW DELHI: “If this is not the wake-up call, then nothing will wake this country,” remarked Union Home Minister P Chidambaram while replying to the debate on the Dantewada massacre in the Lok Sabha. Vowing to fight the Naxal menace, the Union Home Minister said that it was a “joint fight” of both the Centre and the State Governments, since development was the responsibility of both and neither could be unmindful of the socio-economic causes while dwelling on the reasons of the growing Naxal menace.

Chidambaram, who drew flak from the united Opposition, however, passed on the buck to the Opposition-run State Governments, including West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, saying, “If no development has taken place in Lalgarh over the last 30 years, can anyone blame the Central Government?” He went on to add, “If no development has taken place in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand over the years, who is to be blamed?” asked Chidambaram. He said the State Governments had equal responsibility if not greater role to provide basic amenities and to ensure development in their region. He blamed the State governments for not utilising the funds, released by the Centre for the development of the region and modernisation of the police force.
Batting for the twin-pronged strategy of development and police action, he admitted that it was indeed a difficult call to cope with the divergent of views in the political system, where BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, in the Lok Sabha debate, wanted a tough policy against Maoists, while Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP was more concerned about addressing the socio-economic problem, where Sharad Yadav of JD(U) wanted to root out corruption first, while Tathagat Satpathy of BJD asked for dialogue with the Maoists.

Chidambaram, however, stated that during his tenure as Union Home Minister, he has held several meetings with the chief ministers of Naxal-affected states, in his bid to evolve a united strategy to fight them out and they had indeed agreed with the set of measures and prepared an action-plan on the same.

Underscoring the role of CRPF, he said it was the only force to take on the Naxals, all the rest were border-guarding forces, including BSF and ITBP. Whether it is for law and order situation, communal violence, VIP protection or anti- Naxal warfare, the CRPF is in demand in the States, which he said was well-equipped and trained, including the battalion in Dantewada.

Talking about the April 6 massacre of the CRPF personnel, Chidambaram said, “I didn’t lose my will, my nerve.” But, since, he felt that the responsibility lay on his shoulders for the tragedy and was his moral duty, he tendered his resignation.
He said both the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairperson rejected his resignation and reposed faith in him.

“I will continue to provide leadership in the Ministry of Home Affairs and to the paramilitary forces in fighting the Naxals.”

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