M A I N   N E W S

Day after, PC woos Naxals for dialogue
Says govt doesn’t believe in fighting own people 
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, October 7
A day after a Jharkhand police officer was done to death in cold blood by Naxals, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said security forces would engage the Maoists till they abjure violence and the Air Force would take steps to protect itself from any guerrilla attacks.

Speaking to mediapersons here while campaigning for the Congress-NCP alliance, Chidambaram said the government did not believe in waging a war against its own people but wanted the Maoists to give up violence and come forward for talks.

“As long as the CPI (Maoists) believes in an armed liberation struggle, we have no option but to ask our security forces to engage them, we will arrest them, we will apprehend them,” he said.

Chidambaram said the government was not in a mood to retaliate in kind. “The Naxalites call it a war… we do not… but as a government functioning under the constitution, we cannot accept armed liberation struggle… But as we said they must abjure violence and take the path of democracy and dialogue.”

Asked about the Air Force seeking permission to fight back if the Naxals fired upon its helicopters and crew operating in Maoists-hit areas, the Home Minister said the Indian Air Force would take adequate counter measures to protect its choppers and pilots from Naxal attacks. However, the Home Minister refused to divulge any details.

Chidambaram said the Union and various state governments were prepared to discuss issues of development in case the Maoists gave up arms. However, he said, the government would not hesitate in taking tough decisions if they did not abjure violence. "No republic and no government, which has taken an oath under the Constitution, can accept the theory of an armed liberation struggle,” he said.

Maoists, said the Home Minister, could surrender their weapons and come forward to represent the same group of people. He also admitted that the Maoists were not receiving any foreign aid to carry out their armed revolt. “They raise money inside the country by looting banks, through extortion and kidnapping.” Asked about a news report mentioning that Taliban militants were being pushed into Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan, the Home Minister replied: “The story is baseless.”



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