As security forces continued to battle the Maoists, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday told the Members of Parliament (MPs) that the Centre was ready with two-pronged approach of development and police action to check the Naxal menace.
Chidambaram, who heard most MPs backing strong police action against Naxals at the consultative committee meeting, lamented that central funds meant for projects for betterment of such regions were not being utilised well.
Nearly all MPs, cutting across party lines, suggested that the government would have to wrest territory controlled by the Naxals to give development a hard push.
Ministry officials said Naxals had killed 137 civilians this year. “They just need to brand someone as a police informer or refusal to pay up to their extortion demands,” an official said.
Describing the development versus police action debate “misplaced”, the minister said the decision would vary from situation to situation.
“In some areas, it may be possible to undertake some development activities, to be followed by steps to strengthen security. In other areas, it may be necessary to first launch police action to regain control of the territory, followed by vigorous development activities,” the home minister said.