Onus of fighting Maoists lies with states: Chidambaram


Bhubaneswar : Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday that the onus of fighting the Maoists primarily lay with the states, though the central government would extend all help whenever necessary.

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“The primary responsibility (to fight Maoists) must be taken by the state governments,” the home minister told reporters here after meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and senior government officials.

Maoist guerrillas had Thursday blown up a railway building and damaged three mobile phone towers in Orissa’s Koraput, hours before Chidambaram visited the district to review security preparedness. Tribal-populated Koraput is considered a Maoist stronghold.

Reacting to the states’ demand for more forces, he said the central government has to send forces to many states, but added that it was ready to give all help whenever needed. But the primary responsibility lies with the state to increase their combat capacity, he said.

“The centre will provide all assistance to the states and commits one unit of central forces for every unit the state commits,” Chidambaram said.

“It is a long battle. We have neglected this (Maoist) problem over the last 10 years. Orissa wishes to join the central government in fighting Left wing extremism. Plans are underway and what ever assistance is required will be given,” he said.

“There is no confusion that Naxalite outfits are terrorist organisations. We have already imposed a ban and we will resolutely impose that ban so that all violence comes to an end,” Chidambaram said. “It will take some but surely we will gain an upper hand,” he added.

Chidambaram, who was here to review the law and order situation in Orissa, had earlier in the day visited Kandhamal district, where communal conflict last year had killed at least 38 people.

The region, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year.

Thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs following the killings. Although there is no violence reported from the region since December last year, about 1,500 victims are still at government relief camps.

The home minister said he visited some of the relief camps and met the victims.

“I told them that they should go back to their villages. The state government and the central government will protect them,” he said.

He also assured the displaced that all necessary help and protection would be provided that they can lead a trouble-free life.

“You must be confident that you are safe,” the minister told the victims.

Chidambaram, who is on a two-day visit to the state, visited the anti-insurgency training centre and the district armoury in Koraput, 500 km from here Thursday and held discussions with senior state police officers.