Chidambaram to discuss anti-Maoist steps with chief ministers


Kolkata : Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram will sit with the chief ministers of three eastern Indian states here Tuesday to draw up the details of a joint security operation against the Maoist menace.

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Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren will take part in the talks being hosted by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, however, will not attend. The state will be represented by its chief secretary.

The meeting for four states has been convened to decide the modalities of starting a joint operation against the Maoists in the border areas. The security operation will be coordinated by the Central Reserve Police Force special director-general (DG) and commander of the anti-Maoist task force Vijay Raman.

The meeting comes two days after an internal security conclave in New Delhi where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated his stand that leftwing extremism posed the greatest threat to India’s internal security.

Chidambaram has said anti-Maoist operations would stop only if the rebels abjured violence and agreed to come to the negotiating table.

West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said as the Maoists operated in a corridor spread over four states, the states cannot operate in isolation.

“The home minister has also said time and again that the states have to work together in the corridor,” Chakraborty told mediapersons Monday.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist has opposed the meeting, saying it was aimed at “killing more innocent people”.

“The joint operation will only kill more people, but it will surely help in expanding areas of armed resistance in the country,” party central committee leader Surya said in a statement.