June 10, 2013
Speaking at a press conference held on the occasion of the launch of his Ministry’s new website, Tribal Affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo said that Maoist violence is a deeper problem and cannot be treated as a mere law and order problem. “There is rampant exploitation of tribals and the lack of development is also a part of the problem,” he said. The lack of development in these areas is the reason for such attacks, he said, while laying emphasis on the need to get to the root cause of the problem.
In the wake of the 25 May Maoist attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh, Deo said that at a time when the tribals are caught between the cross-fire of the paramilitary forces and the Maoists, all tribals cannot be painted with the same brush. “It is really unfortunate that today, in democratic India a tribal has no choice. He has to choose between the security forces and Maoists,” he added.
Deo said the government needs to be sensible about development in tribal areas, rather than allowing industries to exploit the rich natural resources of these areas. “Where in India have tribals benefited from mining activities? The impoverished have only become further impoverished,” he said while stating that whether or not his cabinet colleagues were for this kind of development, he is strongly opposed to it. “This kind of development is a clear violation of our social obligations.”
“Tribals are not our enemy but civilians of the country and our paramilitary forces are the ones who are trained to fight the enemy. But Salwa Judum is the biggest threat to peace. Keeping young tribals in concentration camps and depriving them of their rights is not the answer. It is the worst thing that can happen”, he said.
An all party meeting to fine-tune the state’s policy on tackling Maoist violence is scheduled for later today
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