M A I N   N E W S

PM calls meeting to chalk out anti-Naxal strategy
Ashok Tuteja/Tribune News Service

15 Dantewada victims battle for life
15 Dantewada victims battle for life

New Delhi, May 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a high-level meeting on Tuesday to review the strategy to tackle Maoists amid a raging debate in government circles on whether it was time to exercise the option of using air power to tackle the Naxalite violence.

The meeting is likely to be attended by Home Minister P Chidambaram, Home Secretary GK Pillai, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and other senior officials of the Home Ministry.

A day after Maoists unleashed another attack in Chattisgarh killing 36 persons, Home Minister P Chidambaram made a fresh offer to hold talks with Naxals if they "suspend" violence even for just 72 hours.

"Maoists should say 'We will abjure violence. We will suspend violence and actually suspend violence for 72 hours'. We will get the Chief Ministers on board. We will respond. We will fix a date, time and place for talks and let the Maoists come for the talks on anything they wish to talk," Chidambaram told a news channel.

Chidambaram regretted that the Maoists never responded "seriously" to the centre’s offer of talks. "They are indulging in gimmickry… I am afraid media plays up that gimmick," he said.

Asked whether the government forces will also halt all operations against them during the period of ceasefire, the Home Minister responded, "That goes without saying”. Chidambaram said “if they observe complete suspension of violence for just 72 hours, it goes without saying that police will not take any action against any CPI(Maoist) activist, hideouts or camps.” He said complete suspension means there should not be any attack on infrastructure, any landmine blast or any targetting of telephone towers.

Batting for Chidambaram yet again, who had yesterday said that he was given a limited mandate on the issue of taking tougher action against the Naxals, the BJP hit out at the Congress-led government for waging a “half-battle” against the Maoists. The Congress vehemently denied that there were differences between the party and the government over dealing with the Maoist violence. The Army has proposed to set up a dedicated centre to ready the security men for the battle against the Naxals. The proposal was made during the ongoing Army Commanders’ Conference here and it was suggested that the new centre could be set up on the lines of the Army’s Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Mizoram.

The Commanders discussed the issue and they were willing to offer the services of defence officers as instructors. It would be in addition to the anti-Naxal operations training that the Army has been provided for the last six years now.




Maoists reject talk offer

Bastar: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s offer to hold talks with the Naxals if they “suspend” violence even for just 72 hours was dismissed by Naxal leader Ramanna who said, “We cannot give up our weapons”.

He said the Naxal's had responded to the Home Minister’s earlier offer for talks. “But the Government did not believe us. There is a heavy presence of security forces and their atrocities are continuing every day,” he said.

Ramanna said the attack on the civilian bus in Dantewada district yesterday was aimed at Special Police Officers who were travelling on it.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |