Undeterred by naxal ambush on May 25, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh is in no mood to rethink over the operation he has launched against Naxals. In an exclusive interview to Organiser representative Pramod Kumar the Chief Minister said the attack only shows the frustration of naxals, as they have lost the ground and have been cornered in their own strongholds. He says the Congress leaders might have been targeted now but the fact is that the BJP leaders are facing such attacks for years. Excerpts:
Don’t you think it is time for ‘surgical operation’ against Naxals?
Yes, definitely. We are swiftly identifying and working to corner them in the areas of their influence. Nobody responsible for the gruesome act will be left unpunished. Democracy keeps on facing such challenges. It does mean that the entire system has collapsed. People have been fighting against the naxal terror for long and now too the fight will continue with full vigour. Our willpower is intact and the morale of the security forces too is unbeatable. The issue will not be left unresolved. We are taking a decisive action. There is no question of taking the step behind. The action will continue with the support of the local people and also with renewed vigour. The developmental activities will also continue at the same pace, as they were going on earlier.
Some strategists are claiming that the government strategy against Naxals has failed and it is time to reshape it. What do you say?
No, the strategy has not failed. We have pushed them far back in nine years. You cannot question the whole efforts of nine years just with the one incident. It is the history of Naxals that whenever they find themselves cornered or forced to withdraw they take such steps. This strike basically expose their frustration, as they have lost support from the ground. During the last a few years the casualties by them have reduced substantially. Not only the number of strikes but also the number of blasts has reduced. At the same the number of encounters have increased manifold. By and large they have been pushed back. The whole action against them is going on effectively showing positive results. This latest strike can be said the reaction of those our actions. Through such cruel incidents they basically want to show their presence. Only an incident cannot block the roads ahead. This rather gives us the strength for fighting more vigorously.
Why have you declined the army help?
Army action cannot be justified inside the country. The naxals keep hiding among lakhs of people where it is difficult to identify them. In this situation how can the action be carried out? Open fire can also not be allowed. They suddenly come out, strike and hide back. Until one is sure about their whereabouts, army action is impossible. We have to think of innocent people also.
What would be its political implications in the state?
It is for the first time that any Congress rally has been attacked by naxals in the state. Earlier many BJP leaders and party rallies have been attacked in similar ghastly manners. Even before the beginning of our Vikas Yatra many of our leaders were issued threats. Blasts were also carried out targeting our MLAs and ministers.
There are elements, which have soft corner for such killers and they are mum now. What do you say?
I feel there can be no bigger human rights violation than talking of just one sided human rights. How can you keep your eyes shut when the son and father are killed together, a person is shot with more than 30 bullets, the body is cut into pieces, and above all there is dance and rejoice over cruelty? They are the biggest human rights violators. Interestingly, when any such killer is caught or killed, these so-called human rightists do not hesitate to knock the door of the Supreme Court. It is unacceptable.
After this strike how is the coordination between other naxal-affected states?
The interstate coordination needs to be strengthened. It is must for combating the menace effectively.
Assembly polls are approaching in the state and it is not possible to provide security to each political worker. Don’t you think this type of incidents will affect the campaigning in the state?
I don’t think so. There will be no problem of security in the elections. Free and fair polls will be conducted.
After the brutal killing of Mahendra Karma how will you communicate to the people on ground now? Do you have other such people also?
There are many people in our touch. We will seek their help. There will be no problem.