REAFFIRMING THE government’s commitment to eliminate dacoits without succumbing to political pressure, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday announced in the Assembly that Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan would launch a joint campaign in order to find a permanent solution to the dacoity menace in the Chambal valley.
He was replying to the hour-long debate on the admissibility of an adjournment motion moved by Sajjan Singh Verma (Cong) and others on the killing of 5 Gurjar youth by Rambabu Gadaria dacoit gang in Shivpuri district on November 5.
The entire opposition staged a walkout after Speaker Ishwardas Rohani announced that the motion had been rejected. Responding to apprehensions expressed by Congress and other opposition members that a caste war was on the anvil in the Chambal valley with Gurjars and Gadarias ranged against each other leading to frequent mass killings, Chouhan frankly admitted political patronage to dacoits for the sake of vote bank politics.
The Chief Minister said he proposed to convene an all-party meeting to reach at a consensus for chalking out a policy for eliminating dacoit menace and to speed up development of the region.
Chouhan also admitted weakness in intelligence gathering system and laxity on the part of police to take prompt action after getting a complaint about abduction of five Gurjar youth, who were later killed.
“There will be no let up in our efforts. While police will deal with the criminals with a strong hand, speedy development with better roads would be ensured,” Chouhan said.
He denied the Congress claim that withdrawal of Special Task Force led to the recent carnage and said only a part of the STF dealing with monitoring with equipments had been shifted to the police headquarters, while the STF on search duty were still deployed in the dacoit-infested region.
The Chief Minister reiterated that dacoit Dayaram Gadaria was killed in an encounter with the police recently. This clarification came as Dr Govind Singh and other Congress members disputed the government claim about elimination of the dacoit leader.
They apprehended that dacoit Dayaram Gadaria might be alive as a letter purportedly written by him was found from the spot, where bodies of five Gurjar youth had been recovered.
Chouhan said police officers had been given a free hand to deal with the menace. He,however, said transfer of police officers under political pressure was a common practice for years together and assured no interference in the working of police would be allowed.
The Chief Minister said 22 dacoits were killed this year and few Bangladeshi dacoits involved in the dacoities in Bhopal and Indore have been arrested.