Need to regain control in Maoist-hit regions first: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 19 (Calcutta Tube) The security forces need to regain control over the Maoist-controlled areas firstand the state governemnts should then rush with developmental measures, Home Mibnister P. Chidambaram said here Friday.

He admitted that finding trained and well-equipped security forces in states is the most difficult challenge in tackling the Maoists, who have created a parallel administration in several districts in the country.

‘The most difficult element is trained, well-equipped state police force to take on the challenge of the Maoists. The situation on the Naxal (Maoist) front is worse. For, we did not engage them (earlier) and they will continue to expand unless we challenge them,’ Chidambaram told reporters in an interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here.

On Tuesday, Maoists carried out a daring attack on a security forces’ camp in Shilda in West Bengal Monday, killing 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) troopers and a civilian.

The guerrillas Wednesday stormed a village in Bihar’s Jamui district and killed 11 people.

The first step in tackling the menace, the minister asserted, is for the civil administration to establish control in Maoist-dominated districts.

‘First things first, the security forces must regain control. Once there is control, then the state government must rush in developmental resources,’ he said.

Chidambaram said that it will be some time before results are seen on the ground.

‘We need a strong head, strong heart and staying power for that,’ he said.

The minister pointed out that the government had to reverse two decades of neglect of the police forces.

‘We have 3,000 vacancies in police constabulary, 350 Indian Police Service officers (vacancies) in central government and equal in state government. Then, there is poor equipment, poor training and rising age of the armed police forces,’ he pointed out.

Chidambaram said while police reforms was high on agenda of the central government, it can only be an advocate for change, and steps have to be taken by the state government.

The minister said Maoist groups will use ‘all their tricks’ in the ongoing confrontation.

‘They (Maoists) will seduce the media that they are doing. They will unleash terror, pull all strings to activate their frontal organizations including unsuspecting NGOS. They will try to widen their circle of influence.’

The home minister said the intellectual and material support by some unsuspecting NGOs and civil society is ‘making the task difficult for us as it confuses the people as what we are doing is right or not’.

‘Let’s not forgot, the CPI-Maoist believes in armed liberal struggle to overthrow elected government. There is no half-way house, either you accept or reject (it),’ said Chidambaram.

On the Pune bomb blast, he said that due to the ‘terror free period’ of 14 months, a ‘strange passivity’ had developed in India.

‘I warned the country, (that) terror never went away. We had our share of luck and sleuthing which thwarted the terror attack (earlier)… In Pune, we did not have luck or any clues, because it was nondescript bakery between two well established known terror targets,’ he asserted.

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