Centre can't interfere in states' fight against terror: Patil

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Finding itself in a tight spot in the Rajya Sabha while answering questions on terrorist and naxal menace in Andhra Pradesh and other states, the Government today put the ball in the states' court, saying it can only help them and not interfere directly.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil's reply failed to satisfy the members leading to heated remarks against the ''failure' of the Centre to control the situation in the states.

The House witnessed senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, S S Ahluwalia, Vinay Katiyar and other Opposition members, including Shahid Siddiqui of the Samajwadi Party and Ms Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) and others on their feet attacking the Home Minister for his ''inadequate'' replies while dealing with a ''grave'' issue.

Mr Patil's contention that crime in Andhra Pradesh had come down by 60 per cent was hotly disputed by members and some of them became so agitated that the Chairman had to warn that he would have to name some members and invoke Rule 255 for disruption of the House, if they did not resume their seat and let the Question Hour proceed.

The confusion and din reached to such a scale at one point that the Chair had to adjourn the House for five minutes.

When the House reassembled, Mr Patil said the Centre was helping the states in every possible way to fight terrorism and naxalism, but it cannot interfere in their working directly under the present federal set up provided by the Constitution.

The Central intelligence agencies were sharing information with states and the Government had also sent 33 batallions of security forces to states, and it was up to their governments to deploy them and use the information to fight against lawlessness and terror, he said.

The Home Minister also disclosed that the government had identified the affected districts and given extra funds to states to develop them.

''If you ask the government to interfere in one state, soon there will be demand for interfering in other states,' he added.

The Home Minister's statement that the situation in Chattisgarh and Jharkhand was also very grave and 50 per cent of deaths from naxal violence were taking place in these two states evoked sharp reaction from BJP's SS Ahluwalia who sought to remind the Home Minister that Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh was the hot bed of naxalism. He also crticised the Centre's handling of the People's War Group.

Answering a query from nominated Member Ms Shobhna Bhartiya regarding the recent blasts in Hyderabad, Mr Patil said investigation was taking place and the Government had some clues but it would not be in the interest of investigation to disclose the information.

When Mr Ramjethmalani and another member sought to make the point that naxalism could not be equated with terrorism as it had some socio-economic reasons with ideological moorings, and so could not be fought only by legal means, the Home Minister said the Government was aware of that aspect and it was for a holistic approach to solve these problems.

He agreed with Mr Ahluwalia on the need for modernising the forces and developing new technologies to fight the sophisticated means used by the terrorists.

UNI

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