Take cue from Mamata to deal with Naxals: Jairam

The West Bengal government has focused on the development agenda and offered a rehabilitation package for surrendered Maoists.

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2012, 21:56 PM IST

Puducherry: Praising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s initiatives in Naxal-infested `junglemahal` area, Union minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday suggested a three-pronged approach to deal with the Maoist menace.
"We need a three pronged strategy... on the lines of that
taken by Mamata Banerjee taken in Junglemahal," he said
inaugurating a two-day All India Editors` Conference here.

The West Bengal government has focused on the development
agenda and offered a rehabilitation package for surrendered
Maoists, besides creating awareness about shunning the path of
violence.

Ramesh said a three-pronged approach through the
political system, addressing people`s concerns and a strong
paramilitary force, was required to deal with Maoists.

"We need a three pronged approach - through politics, people and police and paramilitary to address the Maoist issue. It’s through more activity in the political system Maoist activity be defeated. A sensible people oriented strategy to deal with such issues and a strong police and paramilitary force is also needed," he said.

Ramesh, who said he has visited 23 of 78 Naxal affected areas in the country, also came down on the forest department, saying they are `insensitive` to the needs of tribals.

"First you need to address concerns of the people. The Forest administration has been insensitive to needs of the tribals. What you need is a sensible people oriented strategy (on such issues)", he said.

He said rural development programmes have to be redesigned and restructured in a bid to end the menace.

Citing an example, he said his Ministry has allowed cash payment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act scheme in affected areas, where earlier wages were paid through posts and banks. The ministry also planned to lay
concrete roads in such areas to protect people from landmines.

"The whole Maoist issue has to be looked at differently. Our response cannot be police centric. It is primarily a political issue. it is the failure of politics and government. It should be people centric. We should take this boldly," he said.

He said it had taken Andhra Pradesh 30 years to end the Maoist menace.

PTI