Naxalism is still a serious problem: PM



New Delhi: Asserting that Naxalism is still a serious problem, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the UPA Government has initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by Naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people are addressed.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 66th Independence Day today, Dr. Singh said: "We have initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by Naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people residing there, especially our brothers and sisters belonging to Scheduled Tribes, can be removed and their lot can be improved."

"However, we need to be constantly vigilant as far as internal security is concerned," he added.

Dr. Singh said communal harmony has o be maintained at all costs.

"Naxalism is still a serious problem. The incidents, which occurred in Pune in the beginning of this month point to the need for much more work to be done in the area of national security. We will continue to do this work with sincerity in the future also," he added.

The government had earlier emphasized that Left Wing Extremism (LWE) was a major challenge for security and sovereignty for the country than terrorism.

Despite strong initiatives taken by the Centre, the Maoist insurgency has gripped nearly one-third of the country, spreading into the interiors of 20 states of the country.

Naxal violence has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and security personnel in the last five years. Out of a total of 10,268 casualties between 2005 and May 2010, 2,372 deaths have been reported in 2009 as against 1,769 in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007.

ANI