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Pranab sees Naxalism as the biggest threat to nation's security and peace

Special Correspondent

“In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting the expectations of local people''


60,000 CRPF personnel deployed for anti-naxal operations in various States

Integrated Action Plan approved for districts affected by left-wing extremism


NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday expressed concern over the spread of naxalism to more backward areas and pointed out that it was the biggest threat to the country's peace and security. He urged the security forces to exercise restraint while dealing with such situations.

“I am particularly concerned at the spread of left-wing extremism to some of the more backward areas. In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting the expectations of the local people,'' he said while presiding over the 71st Raising Day celebrations of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) here.

Mr. Mukherjee noted that the government had deployed about 60,000 CRPF personnel to fight Naxalites in various States.

Corrective measures

He said:

“It is easy to misguide people who have been denied their legitimate demands or deprived of their rights and where the State has not shown adequate sensitivity to share and mitigate the local concerns. However, implementation of corrective public measures required prevalence of a certain degree of normality in the affected areas.

“It is vital to dovetail development efforts of the State in these areas to your operational strategy and practice. While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the armed component of extremism, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited in dealing with the general population in the affected areas.

“I urge you to handle the situation with sensitivity and a firm resolve with a view to bringing back the disgruntled elements of society into the mainstream of developmental process.''

Peace and security of the country were being challenged by threats from cross-border terrorism, insurgency in the north-eastern areas and emergence of left wing extremism. These had direct implications not only on the development and prosperity of the affected regions, but also on the overall well being of society. There was need to address these concerns urgently and in totality. The writ of the Constitution should be implemented across the country.

Mr. Mukherjee said:

“We, as the custodians of the Constitution, have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that the writ of the Constitution runs throughout the length and breadth of the country with no exceptions.

“How well and successfully you are able to reach out to the tribals and other affected people, show respect in securing and protecting their rights and convince them of the opportunities that beckon them, would determine the success of your efforts.''

The government had recently approved an Integrated Action Plan for the districts affected by left-wing extremism. It covered 60 tribal and backward districts where a grant of Rs. 25 and Rs. 30 crore a district would be given during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively, he added.

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