Cong advocates carrot and stick policy to tackle Naxalism
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Last Updated: Friday, October 09, 2009, 21:53
New Delhi: In the backdrop of a spurt in naxal violence, Congress on Friday advocated a carrot and stick policy to deal with the menace.

"A process of dialogue should start with those who have left violence while at the same time, those who believe in violence and nothing else should also be dealt with firmly," party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

While listing measures taken by the central government like formation of specialised anti-naxal force COBRA and grant of Rs 500 crore for modernisation of the police force in naxal- affected states, Ahmed in the same breath added "this (naxalism) has, however another aspect as well."

"Reasons like poverty and discrimination due to which people join naxalism should also be tackled and removed. We agree with the Home Minister's view that we should talk to those who can leave the path of violence", he said.

Asked to comment on AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's statement that the "inability" of (non-Congress)state governments to reach out to people was one of the reasons for spread of naxalism there, Ahmad said "all this is included in what I said."

"Society should act on two fronts. Those who do not leave guns should be dealt with firmly...civil society and NGOs should also look into other aspects (poverty and discrimination).

Ahmed steered clear of questions about the demand by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik that the Indian Air Force be allowed to fire in self defence when attacked by naxals while operating in affected areas.

"This matter is between two wings of the government... the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry. The party has nothing to say on it," he said.

Ahmed also dismissed the allegations by BJP that the Centre has run out of ideas to deal with the naxal problem and asked "what concrete actions they had taken to contain the naxal problem when they were in power."

The Congress leader at the same time said law and order is the responsibility of the state government.

He declined to accept the suggestion that naxalism has grown more in Congress-ruled states and cited the example BJP- ruled Chhattisgarh and Left Front-ruled West Bengal.

"We don't agree with this. This should not be seen from narrow prism of party positioning. Congress is not in power in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. But naxal problem is at the peak there," Ahmed said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 09, 2009, 21:53

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