President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday appealed to Maoists to shun violence and join the mainstream, stressing that peace and stability were imperative for development in the country.
"I would like to appeal to those involved in Naxalism to shun violence and join in the progress and peace of the country," Patil said after unveiling a statue of CRPF officer Satyawan Singh Yadav who was killed in an encounter with the Maoists last year.
This is the first the first time that such an honour has been bestowed on a central police force officer who lost his life in an anti-naxal operation.
Singh was the leader of the 76-strong patrol party which was ambushed by naxals in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada area in April last year. It was the deadliest attack ever against security forces by the Maoists.
"Terrorism is a threat to the security and peace of both India and the world. Naxalism has emerged as a big issue and we have to remember that for development, peace and stability are necessary," the President said.
Patil also honoured the officer's wife with a shawl.
"Singh bravely commanded an anti-naxal operation in Chhattisgarh. I pay tributes to all those personnel who made supreme sacrifice in the operation," she said.
Rajasthan governor Shivraj Patil, chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Union minister of State for home Jitendra Singh also attended the event in this sleepy, tiny hamlet.
Senior Delhi-based CRPF officers and a band of the force took part in the function during which the 6.5-foot high statue of Singh in ceremonial attire was unveiled.