New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the Dantewada operation, in which 76 CRPF personnel were massacred by Maoists last month, was planned "thoughtlessly"
by top officials of the force there.
"I was heartbroken after Dantewada (where 76 personnel were killed on April 6). I did not lose my nerve. I have no fear of Naxalites. One IG, two DIGs and an SP, thoughtlessly without planning sent 76 troops for recce," Chidambaram said addressing students at a seminar in the Jawaharlal Nehru University here late last night.
He said the setback meant that the country was confronting an adversary who is organised in strength.
Later talking about developmental issues, Chidambaram said, "Dantewada has a police station which has only two policemen. When a policeman does not want to go there, how can you expect a teacher or a BDO to go there."
The Minister said that extreme ideology can be propagated in India. "Speech and propagation is free in a democracy but when they take up arms, the conflict arises."
He said there was no confusion about the aim of the Naxals. "The aim is seizure of political power with armed struggle. That is acceptable under certain conditions.
Countries under colonialism took this path. Even India saw armed struggle to overthrow British.
"There are situations when you are agitated or
frustrated. I represent a backward constituency. Development
has just started pouring in. If everybody has a justified
right to take up arms, what will happen to the country?"
He said the debate regarding whether development or
police action should take place first in naxal-affected areas
"In West Midnapore, police action is needed first. In
Gadchiroli, the district has been secured by security forces.
Orissa is in mixed stage, we have progressed in Jharkhand. It
is a chicken and egg argument.
"Maoists know development is threat to them, so they
demolish schools, 71 schools were blown up in 2009, they mine
roads, blow up bridges. Villagers are killed in the name of
being informers. In 2009, 211 people were killed on this
pretext and 362 infrastructure targeted in 2009. So to say
Maoists are pro-development is most naive argument."
When asked by a student about the source of arms for
the Naxals, the Home Minister said there is a huge bazaar of
illegal arms in Mayanmar. He said other sources were
country-made weapons and those looted from security forces.
Replying to a question on wrong development policies
being responsible for the Naxal situation, Chidambaram said:
"Throw us out. Elect another government. Let Ganpati and
Kishanji come in power and change the policies. But don`t
take up arms."
When asked why the government was not using the Sri
Lankan strategy, he said "We do not regard Naxals as enemy but
adversaries. They have a policy which is wrong. We believe
police and central paramilitary force are adequate to secure
the areas. Sri Lanka did it but our democratic values are
different and I do not think it is right to use the Army and