Terming Naxals as the biggest terrorists, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said on Wednesday that there cannot be a "soft line" to deal with Maoists but disfavoured use of air power to combat the menace.
Attributing the recent spur in the Naxal violence to frontal operations by the security forces in the state, Singh favoured a long-term action joint action plan with the Centre to tackle the problem.
Singh is in the capital to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia two days after the Naxal attack in Dantewada left 35 people dead including 14 SPOs.
Giving details of Naxal activities in the last 10 years in Chhattisgarh, he said the ultras have killed more than 1000 civilians and more than 650 policemen besides blowing up 132 electric towers, 106 school buildings and three hospitals in the state.
"Who else can be termed as terrorists. They are the biggest terrorists....Naxalism is a biggest challenge to democracy. They want to capture power at gunpoint," the chief minister said.
"There cannot be a softline (towards Naxals)...What have we achieved in the last 60 years by adopting a softline?" he asked.
He also disfavoured use of air power, saying "it is not possible to go for bombing in those areas which are covered by dense forest. The army helicopter can be used only for rescue and relief operations."
Replying to a question on use of air power, Singh said, "Bombing a village is not possible. You have the tribals staying there."
The Chief Minister said the "real face" of Maoists has been exposed. "They are blowing up infrastructure facilities like railway stations and electric lines. What kind of revolution are they talking about," Singh said.
He also sought to clear the air on the allegation that area domination operations by the security forces was aimed at giving a free run to multinational companies to mine in Bastar region.
"The mining is done by MMTC and SAIL and no other private company is involved in iron ore mining," he said.
He said the propaganda being spread by Maoists that Bastar is being vacated for a mining purposes "is wrong" and so are their claims on land reforms.
Singh said there was a change in Naxal strategy from waging guerrilla warfare to mobile war. "There is no last word on the strategy to be adopted against Maoists. We also have to change our strategy," he said.
Appealing to the people to join in the fight against Naxals, he said, "There should be no delay." The Naxals, he said, were carrying out the killings with impunity.