The time has come for a "direct fight on three fronts" to counter the Maoist menace in the country, according to Raman Singh, chief minister of India's worst Maoist-hit state of Chhattisgarh.
Singh, who was speaking at a meet in New Delhi on Monday, also said that leftwing extremism should be considered a national calamity.
"The time has come for a direct fight on three fronts to counter Naxalites," the 57-year-old Singh told at a conference of chief ministers on internal security in New Delhi that was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"In view of the comprehensiveness of the Maoist problem in Chhattisgarh, the security forces should be allowed for direct action against Maoists -- besides socio-economic and infrastructure development of the affected areas and also effectively countering the Maoists' international propaganda which is being used to justify the violence and their movement," Singh told the meet.
Singh, who is heading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state since December 2003, suggested that "keeping in mind the comprehensiveness of the Maoist problem in country, the centre should include it in the column of national calamity and affected persons and families should be helped out from the National Calamity Fund".
"For a long time I have been maintaining that an integrated strategy is required by the centre to handle Maoist militants, as Maoism and terrorism are two sides of the same coin," Singh stated at the conference, adding: "Now I am satisfied that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram have made up their mind to effectively deal with the scourge."