Patil favours ‘middle path’ to fight Maoism

April 22nd, 2008 - 12:37 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) A moderate approach, which includes persuasion as well as use of force as and when required, is the right way to tackle Maoist violence in India, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Lok Sabha Monday. “Some members here said that an iron will is required to deal with Naxalism. Some said we lack will power. On the other hand, one of the members said that bullets would not solve this problem and we need to create the right atmosphere to tackle Naxalism. A middle path is, thus, required,” he said.

Patil said his ministry was being blamed for law and order problems in the states. “Our constitution has provision where the state government controls the law and order. It is exclusively with the state. We have to seek the state’s permission to intervene,” he said.

Nevertheless, the central government has done its bit to control the situation in the states where radical left-wing violence is rampant, he said.

“We have sent Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to any state which has asked for it. But once the force is deployed in a state, it refuses to send it back even though CRPF is a reserve force,” he said.

“We have provided 13,000 central forces to Chhattisgarh, plus 33,000 cops more and thousands of Indian reserve forces,” Patil said.

Patil was speaking during a discussion on the demands for grants for the home ministry for 2008-09. The grants were later passed by the House.

The home ministry had provided funds to establish 2,588 police stations, 58,000 homes for police personnel, provided 19,000 vehicles, given adequate weapons, 30,000 bullet-proof vests and even helicopters to the states.

Patil said the states had failed to fill the the vacancies in their police force and this had aggravated the problem. “In some states up to 28 percent of the vacancies have not been filled,” he said. Some states had failed to utilize up to 50 percent of the funds.

The minister said the internal security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh had improved upto 40 percent. But the situation in Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa had deteriorated. “I am not saying this because we do not have a government in these states,” he clarified.

The picture appeared dismal as the opposition parties gave figures in terms of districts and not the affected regions. “When we talk in terms of police stations affected, it is only 300 police stations. Or in terms of villages it comes to only one percent of the villages,” he said.

The minister also sought to connect security with development saying both go hand in hand. “The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and other welfare measures are also being spread in the affected areas. If this is added, a total of around Rs.75,000 crore (Rs.750 billion) would be spent in the next five years on the 10 states affected by internal security problems,” he said.

The minister said disaster management was being given as much importance as internal security.

Patil also commented on the Maoists’ victory in Nepal elections and said: “We want to have good relations with nepal. What has happened there (return to democracy) is by their people.”

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