Change of heart among Naxals needed: Chidambaram

PC has said that a change of heart among leftists who believe in armed struggle is needed.

New Delhi: A day after exuding confidence of
overcoming the Maoist problem in next three years, Home
Minister P Chidambaram today said he hoped there would be a
change of heart among the extreme leftists who believe in
armed liberation struggle.

"We are confident that in about three years... just to
dispel an impression that it is a matter of weeks or months...
I said (yesterday) that about three years we should be able to
contain the menace of Naxalism," he told reporters here.

Chidambaram was asked if his yesterday`s statement --
that the problem of left wing extremism would be overcome in
next three years -- was not over ambitious.

The Home Minister said, with action being taken by the
government, in development and the security of the areas, the
menace of Naxalism would substantially be contained in about
three years.

"But ultimately there has to be a change of heart among
the extreme leftists who believe in armed liberation struggle.
They have to give up that ideology. That ideology has no place
in a Parliamentary democracy," he said.

Addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative
Committee for the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday,
Chidambaram expressed confidence that the challenge of left
wing extremism would be met jointly by the Central and state

Chidambaram said after consultations with the
Naxal-affected states, it was agreed to have a two-pronged
strategy to handle the Maoist issue -- development and police

The Home Minister said the Centre was assisting the
states by providing para-military forces, sharing intelligence
and funding both development schemes and security needs.

Chidambaram also said that in a meeting of Chief
Ministers of seven Naxal-affected states on July 14, it was
agreed that a Unified Command would be set up in four states
-- West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand -- for
anti-Naxal operations.

Besides, the Centre would provide these states
additional helicopters for logistical support, funds for
establishment and strengthening of 400 police stations
recruiting additional Special Police Officers.

NIA probing Samjhauta blast links with Ajmer, Malegaon cases

Probe into the Samjhauta Express
blast by the National Investigation Agency will look into the
entire conspiracy behind the attack including links of the
accused in terror cases in Rajasthan and Maharashtra also.

Replying to questions after presenting his ministry`s
report card for July, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said
the decision to handover the probe to NIA was taken as the
Harayana Police was not able to make any headway in its probe.

The investigation will also try to ascertain whether the
persons and groups involved in the explosion in Samjhauta
Express have any links with Hindu extremist elements who were
allegedly involved in blasts in Ajmer and Malegaon,
Chidambaram said.

"One of the aspects that NIA will probe is whether it
has got any connection with those who were involved in Ajmer
blast, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. That is an aspect
that has to be probed," he said when asked whether Hindu
groups were involved in the case.

Sixty-eight people were killed when bombs were set off
in two coaches of cross-country Samjhauta Express, running
between Delhi and Lahore, around midnight on February 18, 2007
at Diwana near Panipat, 80 kilometres north of Delhi.
The Home Minister, however, made it clear that it was
premature to point finger at any organisation or individual at
this stage.

"If we could do that, why we would hand it over to the
NIA? Since Haryana police has not been able to crack the case,
with their consent, the case has been handed over to the NIA,"
he said.

Chidambaram said NIA can investigate terror related
cases and the agency has been given a number of cases ever
since it was constituted.

"Some of the old cases, which have not yet been solved,
are being given to NIA because we want them to solve them.
Samjhauta express case is an example.

"It is all depend on the progress being made by the
current investigating agency. When they are unable to solve
the case after a reasonable time, then I am afraid with their
consent, the alternative is to try and ask NIA...can you
solve it," he said.

The Home Minister said the Mecca masjid blast (May 18,
2007) case is already with the CBI while Ajmer blast (October
11, 2007) is with ATS Rajasthan and Malegaon blasts (September
8, 2006) is with ATS Maharashtra.

The case was being handled by Harayana Police, which had
failed to make any headway after its probe led to a tailor at
Indore, who had prepared the cover for the suitcase in which
the bombs were planted.

Sources said Madhya Pradesh police were not cooperating
with the probe.

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