New Delhi: With the government under
opposition attack over "divisions" in the ruling alliance and
Congress on anti-Naxal strategy, Home Minister P Chidambaram
today said a strong head and "enormous staying power" were
needed to fight the Maoists.
"To counter the menace of Naxalism, we need a strong
head, a stronger heart and enormous staying power. I believe
that the government has all three qualities," Chidambaram said
in a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the April 6 Dantewada
incident which claimed the lives of 76 security personnel.
He said the state governments have the primary
responsibility to fight the Maoist menace and the Centre was
ready to assist them.
"The state governments have the primary responsibility"
to regain control of areas dominated by the Naxals, he said.
The Central government, Chidamabaram said, was ready and
willing to assist the state governments and to coordinate
Chidambaram made the statement even as the BJP attacked
the government saying while it was extending its support in
the fight against Naxals, the "divided" treasury benches and
Congress had been pulling down their own Home Minister.
The Home Minister said as the security forces were
deployed in areas populated by scheduled tribes, they were
"Because the security forces are deployed in areas
populated by scheduled tribes, a number of restrictions have
been placed on the operations of the central paramilitary
forces," he said.
Apparently rejecting suggestions that the security forces
were not adequately trained, Chidambaram said "the three
companies (deployed in Dantewada) concerned had undergone
pre-induction training before they were inducted in that
Noting that the goal of Naxalites was to overthrow the
established authority of the government, he said the State has
a legitimate right to deploy its security forces to "resist,
apprehend and, if necessary, neutralise militants who are
determined to strike at the very roots of our nation".
He said the call to the CPI(Maoist) for talks was made
in the hope of getting their sincere response. "The only
condition is that the CPI (Maoist) must abjure violence".
The minister said that the Centre has appointed a one-man
inquiry committee headed by E N Ram Mohan, a retired IPS
officer, to look into the Dantewada incident. The committee
has been asked to submit its report within two weeks.
Oppn members irked
A piquant situation was witnessed
in Rajya Sabha today as BJP members protested non-availability
of Home Minister P Chidambaram`s statement on the Dantewada
massacre, wondering whether it "required any inquiry".
After frequent adjournments in the pre-lunch session,
Chidambaram made a statement at 1400 hours in the Upper House.
But the BJP and Left members were on their feet complaining
that copies were not given to them.
Noting that copies were made available, Chidambaram said
he was at a loss why they were not supplied to the members.
This prompted BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu to say "does it
require any inquiry. Government is taking everything
As members continued to raise their point, Chairman Hamid
Ansari wanted to know whether the discussion could go on
immediately or he would adjourn the proceedings for 15 minutes
to enable the members to receive copies.
However, copies were supplied then and the discussion
PC visits CRPF hdqrts
Chidambaram also visited the CRPF headquarters here and interacted with top officials in wake of the Dantewada massacre by the Naxals.
Official sources said Chidambaram arrived at the CGO
complex office early morning and spent nearly two hours while
holding a closed-door meeting with CRPF Director General
Vikram Srivastava and other senior officials.
Chidambaram is understood to have enquired about the
operational details including deployment of senior officers
in Naxal-infested areas.
He told the officers that he is proud of the force and
they should not feel demoralised, the sources said.
At the same time, he is understood to have expressed
his unhappiness at the high casualty suffered by the force and
several senior officers were reportedly at the receiving end.
Incidentally, Chidambaram made a statement today in
the Parliament on the gruesome attack in which 75 CRPF men
were killed and officers view his visit to the headquarters on