'States must lead the fight against Maoists' | india | Hindustan Times
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'States must lead the fight against Maoists'

india Updated: Nov 21, 2009 01:20 IST
Varghese K George

The governments of states where Maoists are active have to be in the forefront of any coordinated operation against them. “The anti-Maoist threat cannot be solely a central initiative,” a top Congress leader told Hindustan Times, indicating this was the Centre’s considered view.

Noting that law and order was a state subject, he added the Centre would give “help and support in the form of forces and logistics” to the states to neutralise the insurgency.

Central paramilitary and police forces in several states are mobilising for a huge push to establish governmental authority in 223 of the country’s 626 districts where Maoists have a presence.

“The Centre will give forces and support the state governments. The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh succeeded in putting down the Maoists. States cannot sit back and wait for us to clean up things,” the leader said.

The fine-tuning of the Congress position is a response to a public perception that the Union government is forcing the states into an operation — some reports even invented a name for it, Operation Green Hunt. “There is nothing called Operation Green Hunt. Nobody in the home ministry ever used that word,” home minister P. Chidambaram said last week.

Sources said Chidambaram has conveyed this thinking to state governments. “The Union government will help the states that want to improve things. Those who are not keen will have to fend for themselves,” said a Union minister.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had accused the Union government of encroaching upon the powers of states.

peaceful poll plea

The home ministry on Friday urged civil society organisations to ask Left-wing extremists not to disrupt the forthcoming elections in Jharkhand.

Condemning Thursday’s train derailment by suspected Maoists, a ministry statement said “the CPI-Maoist seem determined to carry out the threat to disrupt the elections and continue to kill innocent people”.

“Civil society organisations should also play their part and condemn the wanton acts of violence and ask the CPI-Maoist not to disrupt elections which constitute the foundation of a democracy,” it said.