'India to reassert authority in Maoist areas'
Home Minister P Chidambaram declared on Friday that states had agreed to coordinate actions against Maoist guerrillas and that the government's goal was to reassert authority in rebel bastions.india Updated: Jan 22, 2010 17:26 IST
Home Minister P Chidambaram declared on Friday that states had agreed to coordinate actions against Maoist guerrillas and that the government's goal was to reassert authority in rebel bastions.
"(Our aim is) to reassert the civil administration to be followed immediately by development in areas dominated by Naxalites (Maoists) for quite some years," Chidambaram said after a meeting with top officials of Orissa, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh here.
"The meeting was successful. We identified progress we made... We identified steps to be taken," the minister told reporters.
"The (anti-Maoist) operations will continue. Our goal is not to kill anyone but to reassert the civil administration to be followed immediately by development in areas dominated by Naxalites for quite some years," he said.
Chidambaram chaired a two-hour meeting at the state secretariat with chief ministers Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Navin Patnaik of Orissa, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil and officials of paramilitary forces.
He said the central government was offering troops and technology to states to take on the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).
"My approach to the CPI-Maoist and other such banned organisations is that you will suspend violence and we will talk. But they are killing people. Even yesterday they killed two boys in Chhattisgarh who belonged to primitive tribes as they wanted to get recruited in (the Indian) army," he said.
"The coordinated operation (against Maoists) is just a few weeks old. The progress is satisfactory and in future it will be more satisfactory. In many places Naxalites are retreating and we welcome it. But in some areas they are engaged in battle," Chidambaram said.
When asked to comment on reports saying the Shibu Soren government in Jharkhand has decided to go slow on anti-Maoist drives, he said: "There is a new government in Jharkhand, the chief minister and other senior officials are coming to Delhi Jan 28 to meet me on the Naxal issue."
Chidambaram said the Indian government had no evidence of Naxals getting external monetary help. "(There is) no evidence of Naxals getting external monetary help though they are getting smuggled arms," the minister commented when asked about foreign help to Maoists.
The special meet focussed on devising strategies to fine-tune anti-Maoist operations and take the battle to rebel hideouts in forests. Many of the hiseouts have been protected by landmines for almost three decades.
Government sources informed that the meet discussed "operational and deployment details" of security forces and devised strategy so that rebels don't manage to infiltrate neighbouring states to escape police.
In recent months rebels from Chhattisgarh managed to sneak into Maharashtra and Orissa and even returned to their bases once police operations in a particular area stopped.