Taking a strong stand against Maoist attacks like the May 25 strike against Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that such violence has no place in a democracy.
Addressing the chief ministers' Conference on internal security in New Delhi, Manmohan Singh said attacks like the May 25 one -- in which at least 26 people, including senior Congress leaders Nand Kumar Patel and Mahendra Karma, were killed and many others injured -- were “periodical setbacks” in the process to tackle Left-wing extremism.
"The meeting today has been called in the aftermath of brutal attack on Congress workers in Chhattisgarh. Such violence has no place in our democracy," said the Prime Minister.
“But, major violent attacks by Naxalites like the recent one in Chhattisgarh are setbacks that have occurred periodically. The centre and states need to work together to eliminate such large-scale attacks,” he said.
He said the government has adopted a two-pronged strategy to tackle the Maoist problem -- “proactive and sustained operations against Maoist extremists; and, addressing development and governance issues”.
These, the Prime Minister said, include strengthening the security apparatus, improving road connectivity in 34 most Left-wing extremists affected districts, relaxation of norms of various development schemes in the affected areas, and the Integrated Action Plan for 82 selected tribal and backward districts.
He said the meet could be used to find “some concrete measures to deal with the very grave threat of Naxalism”.
“I must point out that the challenge of Naxalism has received our serious attention. We have worked on the development of the Naxal-affected areas. We have been successful to quite an extent," he added.
According to the Prime Minister, the government should ensure that people residing in Left-wing extremists affected areas are able to live in an environment of peace and security and derive full benefits of our development efforts.
Noting that the “time has now come to view the challenges of terrorism, communal violence and Left-wing extremism in a holistic manner”, Manmohan Singh urged people to act in national interest rising above narrow political and ideological divides.
“I would appeal to all political parties and all sections of society to work together to find effective ways and means of meeting these grave challenges,” he said.
To build a broader national consensus on the strategy to tackle the Naxalite challenge, the government has convened a meeting of all political parties on June 10, he added.