Friday, April 16, 2010

Maoists want power through violence: PC

16 Apr 2010, 0634 hrs IST,ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram blunted the arguments of his rivals within and outside the Congress who diagnose Red terror as something that stemmed from lack of empathy and understanding. In his reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha on Dantewada massacre Mr Chidambaram said, “let us not have any illusion about the goal of the Maoists... their goal is to seize political power and their method (to achieve this) is armed liberation ... the PLGA will soon become the People’s Liberation Army... they call this war and the state their enemy,” Mr Chidambaram told the House.

In a signed article in ET, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had charged the home minister with taking a narrow view of the Naxalite problem. Mr Singh had described Mr Chidambaram as an extremely rigid person. “I have differed with his strategy (on dealing with Naxalism) that does not take into consideration the people living in the affected area who ultimately matter. When I raised these issues with him, he said that it was not his responsibility .”

Mr Chidambaram made it a point to remind Mr Singh, without taking his name, that politicians who control state governments in Naxal-infested areas were equally responsible for the mess. Talking about the lack of development in Chhattisgarh, Mr Chidambaram underlined that the state was formed only in 2003, and was under Madhya Pradesh before that. It be recalled Mr Singh was the chief minister of undivided MP for 10 years.

Taking on his critics for painting a “romantic version of the Naxal problem” , Mr Chidambaram quoted from some of the documents put together by the CPI(Maoist) both before and after the 2009 elections to point out how the organisation condemned democratic institutions and took pride in the “annihilation” of police forces deployed for poll security.

“Bollywood and Tollywood, cricket stars, industrialists, MNCs, media foundations and NGOs carried out non-stop propaganda about the virtues of democracy ... they asked the voters to use their wisdom to choose between the good and the bad, to reject the criminals and corrupt elements , and to elect the virtuous, as if there were virtuous people left in the parliamentary pigsty,” Mr Chidambaram quoted from a paper on election boycott released by Maoists in 2009.

Also recalling how Maoists took pride in massacring the forces during the 2009 general election, Mr Chidambaram quoted from another of their post-election document . “EC, under the guidance of the Union home ministry, drew up an elaborate plan especially for the guerrilla zones and other areas of Maoist influence... in the Maoist guerrilla attacks starting from April 6, a total of 43 central-state forces were wiped out. By the last phase... over 70 enemy troops... As on June 12, (2009), a total of 112 police personnel were wiped out in the heroic actions carried out by our PLGA guerrillas.”

Even as he emphasised that the government was not unmindful of the socio-economic process needed to deal with Naxalism , he made it a point to remind the state governments of their “equal, if not greater responsibility” to reach development to the extremism-hit areas.

Mr Chidambaram described his resignation as something that was solely dictated by his conscience. “I did not lose my nerve (after the attack)... I have no fear of Naxals ... But I thought it was my moral responsibility as the home minister to tender my resignation,” he said but added that that the prime minister having rejected his resignation and reposing faith in him, he would lead the MHA and central forces from the front in countering the Naxalites.

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