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
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.