New Delhi: Lashing out at attempts to "romanticise" Maoists, Rural Development Jairam Ramesh today questioned the integrity of the extremists saying it is not based on ideology but on "levy" collected from mining firms operating in mineral-rich tribal areas.
Ramesh, who yesterday visited the Maoist affected areas of Jharkhand, even went on to say that if the government stops all developmental-related flow of funds to these areas, the Maoist movement will die down.
"The fuel of Maoism in India today is levy. The moment you stop all developmental activities Maoism will come to an end.... It is levy-based Maoism. They want levy. I think the Maoists are creating Market economy much more than the government," Ramesh said while hitting out at Maoist sympathisers for "romanticising" the menace.
"Don`t tell me the story that Maoists are not using children as shield. Don`t demonise security forces. Don`t romanticise Maoists," Ramesh said when he was questioned on the security forces` action against Maoists in many affected districts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Buttressing his argument, he said that in Jharkhand`s Palamau district, Maoism started when coal mining began.
"So called liberated zones are the mining rich areas. The bauxite-rich areas are Maoist affected. The iron-ore rich areas are Maoist affected. Coal-rich areas are Maoist affected. Why did it happen?," he asked.
The Minister was addressing a Programme "Saranda and the audacity of hope" organised by a news magazine.
Saranda is a forest area located on the borders of three states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha where the government is implementing a development plan after a successful security operation last year.