Do you need to rethink the strategy against Naxalism after Bastar?
All this is the fallout of Salwa Judum. I had opposed the movement since Shivraj Patilwas home minister. What you have seen in Bastar over the last two weeks – starting with Sarkeguda and then this massacre – is nothing but chain reaction to Salwa Judum.
Do you think the government should change its strategy?
How? All along they have been taking police action. I have been saying that we need to take action wherever there is a law and order situation but the stress should be on developmental activities
The government has many schemes, like Integrated Action Plan…
These have shown results in some areas but there is the need to involve people in decision-making. Present schemes put all power in the hands of DMs, district forest officer and the superintendent of police.
How should the government approach the Naxal problem?
Development should precede combing operations. I come from a Naxal-affected area. One part of my constituency, Parvatipuram, had this problem. The only way we could tackle it was by first building roads, then supplying drinking water and then all other facilities followed. While constructing roads, you must provide security so that you can tackle the Naxals.
I wouldn’t go to that extent. They are extremists, yes. Their actions are of an extremely undemocratic nature.
Congress is talking about a nexus between the corporates and Naxals…
That’s true. Some private firm employees were caught with money which had to be paid to Naxals. But after those news items we found nothing. Why was there no probe? Corporate houses pay protection money.
Interviewed by Nidhi Sharma
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