Soren on board, Naxal offensive full steam ahead | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Soren on board, Naxal offensive full steam ahead

delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2010 23:52 IST
HT Correspondent

The centrally coordinated anti-Naxal offensive will pick up pace over the next few weeks, with Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren pledging his support to the plan.

The offensive will be fine-tuned when Home Minister P Chidambaram meets the chief ministers of four Naxal-hit states in Kolkata early next week.

The home ministry announced Chidambaram's meeting with the chief ministers of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa on Thursday, hours after he met Soren, who promised his support.

The Kolkata meeting - two days after chief ministers of all states converge in Delhi to discuss internal security - was aimed at ensuring seamless inter-state coordination for joint operations and discussing development issues, said a ministry official, who didn't wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media. Chidambaram had a similar meeting in Raipur, Chhattisgarh last week.

Soren was widely seen to be soft on the Naxals, particularly in view of reports that his party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, had received their support during the last year's assembly elections.

Soon after taking over as the CM, he had spoken against the offensive and offered talks, but reversed the stand after a nudge from Chidambaram and the BJP, which supports his government.

After an hour-long meeting with Chidambaram, Soren insisted there were no differences with the Centre. "We have been trying to control the menace (Naxalism) and will continue to do so," he said.

Chidambaram sent out a strong message to the Maoists that the anti-Naxal operations would stop only if they abjure violence in favour of talks.

Soren had said there was no change in Jharkhand government's policy and extended support to anti-Naxal operation, Chidambaram said, adding the CM's talk offer had drawn a blank.