New Delhi: Calling naxalism the "biggest
threat" to peace and security in the country, Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said he is concerned about it`s spread
to economically backward areas and asked the CRPF to handle
the situation with sensitivity.
"I am particularly concerned over the spread of
Left-Wing Extremism in some of the more backward areas of the
economy. In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting
the expectations of the local people," Mukherjee said while
officiating as the chief guest at the 71st Raising day
celebrations of CRPF in the national capital.
The government has deployed almost 60,000 personnel
(sixty battalions) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
to undertake anti-naxal operations in various states affected
by Maoist activities.
"Maoist threat is one of the biggest threat to peace
and security...it is easy to misguide people who have been
denied their legitimate demands or deprived of their rights
and where the state has not shown adequate sensitivity in
sharing and mitigating the local concerns.
"However, implementation of any corrective public
measures requires a certain degree of normalcy to prevail in
the affected areas," Mukherjee said.
"It is vital to dovetail the developmental efforts of
the state in these areas with your operational strategy and
practice. While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in
dealing with the armed component of the extremism, a great
degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be
exhibited in dealing with the general population in the
affected areas," he said after reviewing the parade of the
world`s largest paramilitary force which has a strength of
three lakh personnel.
"I urge you (security forces like CRPF) to handle the
situation with sensitivity and a firm resolve with a view to
bring back the disgruntled elements of the society into the
mainstream of developmental process," he said.
"Today the peace and security of the country is being
challenged by threats emanating from cross-border terrorism,
insurgency in north eastern areas and the emergence of Left
Wing Extremism in certain parts of the country. These have
direct implications not only for the development and
prosperity of the affected regions but also affect the overall
well being of our society.
"We need to address these concerns urgently and in
totality," he said.
Mukherjee said that the writ of the constitution
should be implemented across the country.
"We as the custodians of the Constitution of India
have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that
the writ of the Constitution runs throughout the length and
breadth of the country with no exceptions. It is our solemn
duty to confront all forces which stand in the way of
implementing it`s provisions. Herein lies the biggest
challenge before you (security forces)," he said.
"How well and successfully you (security forces) are
able to reach out to the tribals and other affected people,
show respect in securing and protecting their rights and
convince them of the opportunities that beckon them would
determine the success of your efforts," Mukherjee said while
addressing the top brass and other personnel of CRPF.
"The government on its part has approved an integrated
action plan for the districts affected by Left-wing extremism
recently. It covers 60 tribal and backward districts where a
grant of Rs 25 and Rs 30 crore per district would be
implemented during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively," he said.
Mukherjee specially devoted some parts of his speech
for the officials of the force, which he called as the "lead
response agency" in case of any disturbance.
"A great responsibility rests on the senior and middle
level officers to provide the required leadership in all areas
of operations. Training, capacity building and the use of
appropriate technology and firearms has to be an integral part
of the strategic build-up to address these concerns
"At the same time it is equally important to create
and strengthen the necessary environment for democratic and
inclusive development to take root in the affected areas...
The enhanced security threat in the affected areas have to be
met squarely with increased capacity building measures,
professionalism and sharing of intelligence inputs by the
stakeholders," he said.
Mukherjee assured CRPF personnel that government is
"fully committed" to provide necessary assistance like housing
facilities for the personnel who are on continuous deployment.
Speaking on the occasion, CRPF chief K Vijay Kumar
said the force has successfully and rapidly been able to
change its role and duties at minimum notice.