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Will give no quarter to Maoists: PM
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New Delhi, April 21: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today underlined the need for “urgent and considered action” against Maoists, saying no room could be given to those trying to challenge the Indian state and its democracy.

The renewed aggression in Singh’s Civil Services Day speech came against the back- drop of the massacre of 75 paramilitary personnel in Chhattisgarh on April 6. “Recent events have underscored the need for urgent and considered action to root out this problem. No quarter can be given to those who have taken upon themselves to challenge the authority of the Indian state and the fabric of our democratic polity,” the Prime Minister said.

Although Singh was the first to call the Maoist challenge the “gravest internal security threat”, his tone today was like that of home minister P. Chidambaram in Parliament last week.

The remarks almost belied speculation that the UPA could change tack and go soft on the Maoists following differences in the Congress over Chidambaram’s line of firm action.

Chidambaram had had to remind his own party of an AICC resolution that described the Naxalite challenge as a grave law-and-order problem with socio-economic underpinnings.

So, though Singh took the Maoists head on, he added a rider. “But we cannot overlook the fact that many areas in which such extremism flourishes are under-developed and many of the people, mainly poor tribals who live in these areas, have not shared equitably the fruits of development.”

He said higher levels of education, income and awareness had raised people’s aspirations and expectations. Terrorism and Left-wing extremism seek to challenge the very foundations of India’s democratic and secular polity, he added.

Within the government, the home ministry today appeared annoyed at the way the CRPF reacted to yesterday’s “attacks” on its camps. Ministry sources said the incidents in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar indicated that the Maoists had fired some rounds on the camps.

“Such incidents are almost routine and the CRPF should not have acted panicky by sending messages to the control room, creating a perception that there were attacks,” a senior official said.

The ministry has asked the CRPF brass to send officers of the rank of inspector-general and deputy inspector-general to the field. The idea is to motivate jawans and find out what they need.

The CRPF, the largest paramilitary force, has 50 battalions in Maoist-hit areas, 29 of them in Chhattisgarh. The force’s discipline and training have come under the scanner after the April 6 massacre in Dantewada.

Telegraph India
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