Naxalism much bigger threat and danger than terrorism

New Delhi: Union home minister P. Chidambaram while speaking at a National Convention attended among others by collectors of about 60 Maoist-affected districts in Delhi said that Naxalism (or left-wing extremism/Maoism) is a much bigger threat and challenge than terrorism and insurgency, adding that Naxal violence has claimed ten times more civilian lives since the beginning of this year (2011) than terrorism and insurgency because they (Naxals) pursue a fearful and brutal ideology and do not want upliftment and development of tribal people. Giving an example he said that while 26 people were killed in terrorist violence and 46 in insurgency (27 in J&K), 297 people were killed in Naxal violence. That is ten times of those killed in terror incidents, he said. He also referred to the recent bomb blast in the Delhi High Court complex and said that it was very likely to be the handiwork of homegrown terror groups i.e. militants based in India. He said that there have been three major terrorist attacks in India recently in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi and in respect of Pune and Mumbai ‘we are fairly certain that they were carried out by Indian modules or India-based modules’. He also said that we can no longer point to cross-border (Pakistan) terrorism for terror attacks in India. He said that though that threat (from Pakistan) remains but we must also look at Indian modules or India-based modules which are capable of carrying out terror attacks. Subsequently he said almost the same things in an interview to B.B.C. He admitted that the battle we are fighting in the Naxal or Maoist-affected districts is not for maintaining law and order but to win the trust i.e. minds and hearts of the people in those areas. He said that the villagers or people in these areas are not yet with us or at least not all villagers are on our side because of ‘trust deficit, governance deficit and development deficit’ and that is why our fight against Naxalites in those areas is to win the trust and confidence of the villagers there. He clarified that maintaining law and order there and protecting the people against Naxals or Maoists violence is the responsibility of respective states. We can provide only additional help if requested, he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present in this workshop and in his brief speech at the end, laid emphasis on integrated development of the troubled regions and urged the collectors not to tolerate corruption at all. 
MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2011 on page no. 11

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