New Delhi: Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh has claimed that the then Home Minister P Chidambaram had not liked his opposition to the deployment of army in the Naxal-affected areas.
Recalling a meeting he had with the Minister in his North Block office, Gen Singh said in his just-published autobiography `Courage and Convictions` that Chidambaram told him "You know the Naxal problem was a major national issue. So, why do you oppose the deployment of the Army in Naxal areas?"
"This confirmed my fear that the Government was indeed considering asking the Army to deploy in the heartland of India," he said adding that during the conversation, the Minister was looking at him "intently, with a half-smile on his lips".
Gen Singh said he told the Minister that "I am fully aware of the situation on the ground. It is a socio-economic and governance issue and needs to be addressed accordingly.
"At the same time, it is not a secessionist movement and it would not be correct to use the Army against our own people."
He said the smile never left the Minister`s face. "He was too much suave to show any emotion but I could sense that he had not liked my reply."
The former army chief said soon after he took over the Army in 2010, the Home Ministry had not liked his comments on the killing of over 70 people in the Dantewada massacre which suggested that there was a need to review the training and operational procedures of the paramilitary forces."
"In the ensuing days, the Home Ministry felt that I had encroached upon its turf and there were indications that they were none too happy about my comments. This discomfort was possibly aided by the fact that there was much talk around this time, at various levels, about Army`s possible deployment against the Naxalite-Maoist movement," he said.