Raman admits 'security lapses' led to Naxal attacks, rules out army intervention
Ruling out the need to deploy the army in fighting Naxal violence in the state, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Monday admitted "security lapses" that led to the killing of key Congress leaders last weekend.india Updated: May 27, 2013 20:58 IST
Ruling out the need to deploy the army in fighting Naxal violence in the state, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Monday admitted "security lapses" that led to the killing of key Congress leaders last weekend.
Seeking an early probe into the matter by a sitting high court judge, Singh also sought to rubbish the charges of the Congress party that adequate security was not provided to its leaders who were traveling in the Naxal-hit Bastar region as part of their 'Parivartan Rally' in the state.
"The charge that we did not provide adequate security is not correct. The government did make arrangements to ensure the safety of leaders who were on the yatra. But definitely there are some security lapses. An inquiry has already been ordered to fix the responsibility," Singh told PTI.
The chief minister said strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the lapses on the basis of the inquiry report which will go into the circumstances leading to the May 25 Naxal attack on Congress leaders' convoy.
The attack killed 27 people including former state home minister Mahendra Karma, an architect of the 'Salwa Judum' (anti-Naxal vigilante groups) and State Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh. Patel and his son have since been murdered by the rebels.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister VC Shukla was injured in the attack and is at present undergoing treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.
Asked whether the situation warranted involvement of the army in anti-Naxal operation, the chief minister said the region was not a "battleground" and suggested a two-pronged strategy of development and integrated action plan to tackle the menace.
"No need of the Army to fight against Naxals in Bastar area. That is not a battleground. Only integrated action plan and proper coordination between the state and the Centre is needed," Singh said.
Singh has spoken to the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh high court and requested him to depute a sitting judge for the inquiry as early as possible.
Terming the attack as an assault on democratic process, the chief minister of the BJP-ruled state said it was not time for scoring political mileage.
"This is not the time for political point-scoring. The attack represents an assault on the democratic process. And I would like to remphasise my government's resolve to firmly deal with the challenge posted by Maoists," he said.
Singh said what had happened on May 25, the day of the attack, is a matter of worry and stern steps will be taken to bring to book those involved in the barbaric act.
He said the problem of Naxalism has to be dealt with a "firm hand".
"The situation has improved there (Bastar) considerably in the past one year. The incidents of Naxal violence has come down. Statistics will speak for it. It (attack) is a step to show their presence. It is an act of desperation by the Naxalites to show their presence.
"Maoists are unleashing violence as they have lost people's support. They want to stop developmental work being undertaken on a war footing in Bastar," the CM said.
Calling the attack as an "eye-opener", Singh advocated a zero tolerance policy on Naxalism.
"This (attack) is an eye-opener. It shows that Maoists are not against any party or state. They are against democracy. We will have a zero tolerance policy on this," he said, adding that the state government will also seek the Centre's support on its resolve.