NEW DELHI/NAGPUR: Calling Naxalism the “biggest threat” to the country’s peace and security, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said its spread is in part a reflection of “failure” in meeting the expectations of the local people.
Mr Mukherjee said he was particularly concerned over the spread of Left-Wing extremism in some of the more backward areas of the economy. “I am particularly concerned over the spread of Left-Wing extremism in some of the more backward areas of the economy. In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting the expectations of the local people,” Mr Mukherjee said while speaking at the 71st Raising Day celebrations of Central Reserve Police Force in the national capital. He added, “It is easy to misguide people who have been denied their legitimate demands or deprived of their rights and where the state has not shown adequate sensitivity in sharing and mitigating the local concerns.
Mr Mukherjee later speaking to mediapersons said, “Maoist threat is one of the biggest threats to peace and security…” The government has deployed about 60,000 personnel (sixty battalions) of the CRPF to undertake anti-Naxal operations in various states affected by Maoist activities. Mr Mukherjee said, “However, implementation of any corrective public measures requires a certain degree of normalcy to prevail in the affected areas.”
Echoing Home Minister, Mr P Chidambaram’s views, he said, “It is vital to dovetail the developmental efforts of the state in these areas with your operational strategy and practice. While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the armed component of the extremism, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited in dealing with the general population in the affected areas.”
Speaking after reviewing the parade of the world’s largest paramilitary force which has a strength of three lakh personnel, he said, “I urge you (security forces like CRPF) to handle the situation with sensitivity and a firm resolve with a view to bring back the disgruntled elements of the society into the mainstream of developmental process.” “Today the peace and security of the country is being challenged by threats emanating from cross-border terrorism, insurgency in north eastern areas and the emergence of Left Wing extremism in certain parts of the country. These have direct implications not only for the development and prosperity of the affected regions but also affect the overall well being of our society,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Minister, Mr P Chidambaram Tuesday visited the Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra after which he said the Naxals of late have strengthened their position that led to rise in incidents of violence.
As Mr Chidambaram, who became the first Union Home Minister to visit the Maoist-infested district, reviewed anti-Naxal operations, a state bureaucrat courted controversy alleging that such “high profile” visits would not yield any “results” or solve the Naxal problem.
Gadchiroli’s Additional District Collector, Mr Rajendra Kanpadhe also flayed the Centre’s anti-Naxal strategies and said the state police should decide whether or not paramilitary forces are required to deal with Maoist menace. Gadchiroli, which is about 200 km from Nagpur, is surrounded by Naxal-affected areas of Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Mr Chidambaram held a closed-door meeting with high ranking officials in Gadchiroli to assess the preparedness of the security forces in tackling the Naxal menace.