Home India News Kashmir, Maoism, gay status high on home minister’s agenda

Kashmir, Maoism, gay status high on home minister’s agenda


New Delhi : Home Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday said that delegation of more responsibility to police in Jammu and Kashmir, tackling Maoist violence and resolving the legal status of gays will be high on his agenda.

Presenting the assessment of the implementation so far of the agenda for the first 100 days of the government, he said the second action plan will be for the period of June 1 to Sep 30, 2009 and will include the “spillover” of the first plan.

“I visited Jammu and Kashmir on June 11. A decision has been taken to redraw lines of responsibility among the army, the paramilitary forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police. We encourage the Jammu and Kashmir police to take over more responsibilities concerning law and order,” Chidambaram told reporters.

“Even a small incident in Jammu and Kashmir can be blown up into huge proportions. The situation there is very fragile. We have to deal with great care. We should support the young chief minister (Omar Abdullah),” he added.

Earlier in the day, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was moved out of the Baramullah district of north Jammu and Kashmir and six columns of the army were moved in after violent protests by mobs.

Four youth have been killed in Baramulla town since Monday as protests erupted after a woman alleged she was abused by policemen inside the police station.

Speaking about the growing incidents of Maoist violence, expecially in Lalgarh of West Bengal, the home minister said: “One side of the (Left Front) government is willing to take action and the other side is worried about the consequences. We must move out forces to the affected area and we must reclaim that areas which are now dominated by (the Maoists). The central paramilitary forces are available in adequate number and they will aid and assist the state.

“We have advised the West Bengal chief minister (Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) to declare CPI-Maoist an unlawful association and that is where the matter stands. We think that the state government should ban the CPI-Maoist,” he added.

Amid reports that the government is willing to review a 19th century law that makes homosexuality illegal, Chidambaram refrained to comment on the issue but said: “The prime minister has asked the health minister, law minister and myself to meet on the amendments to Article 377 (of the Indian Penal Code that makes homosexuality illegal). That meeting has not been scheduled yet.”

The home minister, who visited Orissa last week, also requested the Biju Janata Dal government there to ensure that the remaining internally displaced persons affected by last year’s communal violence are rehabilitated in their villages soon.

The home minister included measures taken to beef up coastal and border security and the relief work carried out in Cyclone Aila affected areas of West Bengal among the highlight of his first 100 days.

“Under the coastal security scheme, 73 coastal police stations (CPS) have been approved in nine states; namely Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal; and union territories of Daman and Diu, Lakshdweep, Puducherry and Andman and Nicobar.

“Fifty-nine out of 73 CPS are functioning. Construction work of new buildings have been completed in 33 CPS and is in progress in 11 others,” Chidambaram said.

On the India-Bangladesh border security, Chidambaram said: “Eight kilometres of fencing and five kilometres of road work have been completed on the border in June 2009.”