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Have limited mandate to tackle Naxals: Chidambaram

Last Updated: Monday, May 17, 2010 - 23:26

New Delhi: Hours after Naxals blew up a bus in
Chhattisgarh killing over 30 people, Union Home Minister
P Chidambaram said he had a "limited" mandate and has asked
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for more, hinting at the demand
by some states for use of air-support to tackle Maoists.

Replying to questions on the need for air-support to
tackle the Naxal menace and the Cabinet Committee on
Security`s refusal to endorse the use of the same, Chidambaram
said, "I can implement the mandate that is given to me. Now I
believe that the collective wisdom is better than an
individual statement."

Specifically asked whether he wanted air-support for the
operations, the minister told a private news channel, "The security forces, the
chief ministers want air-support."

He said the chief ministers of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa all ask for air-support.

Chidambaram said he "tried" to convince his government on
the issue. Replying to a question about the criticism for
being able to develop consensus on his approach, he said, "No
chief minister has found fault with my approach so far. I
argued before the CCS and I got a limited mandate."

Asked if he was unhappy with the limited mandate, he
said, "I took to the Cabinet Committee case for a larger
mandate, I was given a limited mandate. I will go back to the
Cabinet Committee, I have already spoken to the Prime

"We will go back to the Cabinet Committee to revisit
that mandate in light of the revised strategy that the CPI
(Maoist) is following of which we have enough evidence and

He said the Naxals don`t make a distinction between
"Central and state police forces. They simply kill."

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has
condemned the dastardly attack by Maoists in Dantewada.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari earlier said, "The
attack is reprehensible and abhorrent, to say the least. It
exposes the barbarity of Maoist-Naxalite movement".

Separately, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the Left-
wing extremism is a big threat to the country and the
government will have to tackle it through a policy framework.

"Naxalism is a big threat. We need to move forward on
a policy framework. The government is one on policy framework.
It is a threat and when there is a threat, such things (Naxal
attacks) may happen. We have to careful and be prepared,"
Sibal told reporters.


First Published: Monday, May 17, 2010 - 23:26

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