The government will not use the armed forces to fight Maoists, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Mumbai on Sunday.
Singh reiterated that Maoists were India’s biggest security threat. “But paramilitary forces and police are adequate (to deal with them),” he said, quelling speculation that the Indian Air Force may be used to bomb Naxal-dominated areas.
He added that it was also necessary to look into the reasons why sections of people — specially tribals — became alienated from the state.
The Maoists, who have killed 250 security men in the first eight months of this year alone, currently hold sway across 180 districts in 10 states, or nearly 40 per cent of India’s territory. Most of their strongholds are in tribal areas.
Answering a host of questions on different issues at a press conference, Singh, who was in Mumbai on the last day of the Maharashtra assembly election campaign, dismissed Pakistan’s allegation that India was arming militants in Balochistan.
He also assured citizens that the worst was over as far as price rise was concerned.
Singh reacted to Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik’s allegations that India was arming militants in Balochistan. “India has no role in promoting any terrorist activity. Their (Pakistan’s) people and government jolly well know it,” he said.
He viewed the Pakistani court formally charging the seven 26/11 suspects on Saturday as an admission from Pakistan for the first time that its citizens were involved in the terror attack on Mumbai last year. “Pakistan had never before agreed to this... So there is some progress,” he said.
On the price rise front, the Prime Minister said: “The prices of some items have gone up due to specific reasons like drought. I am hopeful that we will have a normal rabi (winter) crop ... and if it is normal, it will impact the situation.”