Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the Dantewada operation, in which 76 CRPF personnel were massacred by Maoists last month, was planned "thoughtlessly" by top officials of the force there.
"I was heartbroken after Dantewada (where 76 personnel were killed on April 6). I did not lose my nerve. I have no fear of Naxalites. One IG, two DIGs and an SP, thoughtlessly without planning sent 76 troops for recce," Chidambaram said addressing students at a seminar in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi late Wednesday night.
He said the setback meant that the country was confronting an adversary who is organised in strength.
Later talking about developmental issues, Chidambaram said, "Dantewada has a police station which has only two policemen. When a policeman does not want to go there, how can you expect a teacher or a BDO to go there."
The Minister said that extreme ideology can be propagated in India. "Speech and propagation is free in a democracy but when they take up arms, the conflict arises."
He said there was no confusion about the aim of the Naxals. "The aim is seizure of political power with armed struggle. That is acceptable under certain conditions. Countries under colonialism took this path. Even India saw armed struggle to overthrow British.
"There are situations when you are agitated or frustrated. I represent a backward constituency. Development has just started pouring in. If everybody has a justified right to take up arms, what will happen to the country?"
He said the debate regarding whether development or police action should take place first in naxal-affected areas is "metaphysical".
"In West Midnapore, police action is needed first. In Gadchiroli, the district has been secured by security forces. Orissa is in mixed stage, we have progressed in Jharkhand. It is a chicken and egg argument.
"Maoists know development is threat to them, so they demolish schools, 71 schools were blown up in 2009, they mine roads, blow up bridges. Villagers are killed in the name of being informers. In 2009, 211 people were killed on this pretext and 362 infrastructure targeted in 2009. So to say Maoists are pro-development is most naive argument."
When asked by a student about the source of arms for the Naxals, the Home Minister said there is a huge bazaar of illegal arms in Mayanmar. He said other sources were country-made weapons and those looted from security forces.