New Delhi, May 17 (Calcutta Tube) Condemning the Leftist guerrilla attack on a civilian bus in Chhattisgarh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Monday said he was following a ‘limited mandate’ and that the government would need to revisit the anti-Maoist policy.
‘I am implementing the cabinet’s limited mandate. We will need to go back to the cabinet and revisit the mandate,’ Chidambaram told NDTV in an interview.
The home minister said he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were on the same page about how to tackle the menace.
‘I was with the PM an hour ago and he has indicated that he will call the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security soon,’ he said.
The home minister’s comments came as 35 special police officers (SPOs) and civilians were killed when Maoist guerrillas blew up a bus in a forested stretch in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, the same region where they slaughtered 76 security personnel over a month ago.
He said the chief ministers of the Maoist-infested states had requested him for aerial support to strike at Leftist guerrillas in the forests where the rebels have a distinct advantage of the topography and lie quietly in wait and trigger landmine devices resulting in huge casualties of security personnel.
Chidambaram said the Maoists ‘don’t discriminate between security forces and civilians’.
‘They simply kill and then find reasons,’ he said, referring to Maoists killing civilians on the pretext of being police informers.
The minister stressed that the latest attack on civilians should be an eye-opener for civil society groups who support the Maoists.
‘Shouldn’t civil society answer for what happened today?’ he asked, adding that the government was ‘accountable to answer for any police excesses, human rights violations’.
Calling Chhattisgarh, a ‘flashpoint’ where Maoists have grown stronger and are striking at security forces at will, Chidambaram said: ‘We didn’t act early. We allowed it (Maoist problem) to fester for 10 years.’