Badal describes militancy a socio-economic problem

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New Delhi, Dec 20 (UNI) Describing militancy and extermism, to which Punjab lost thousands of lives in the eightiess, as "socio-economic problems," chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today lamented the treating of the twin menace merely as law and order issues.

Mr Badal's Akali party was marginalised at the height of militancy in late eighties when his radical rival Simranjit Singh Maan's party and its supporters had swept the Lok Sabha poll in 1989.

Having said this and stating that "militancy is now under control in Punjab", the Chief Minister, however, sought increased Central financial assistance without the state providing matching contribution for strengthening the police and intelligence appratus to deal with extremism and militancy.

Speaking at the Chief Ministers' Meet on Internal Security here, Mr Badal also sought one-time Central grant for revamping and modernising the intelligence network in the border state. He also demanded more Central allocation for security in Punjab in view of its "constrained resources." He regretted that Centre has reduced its support to Punjab under the modernisation scheme from Rs 64.20 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 20 crore in 2006-07, adding it has only marginally been increased to Rs 24 crore in the current and for next financial year. He demanded 100 per cent Central grant under the modernisation scheme by treating Punjab at par with other some other affected states.

Referring to violence born of ideological extremism without uttering the word naxal, he said " some extremist groups are not only in touch with their counterparts in states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra, but there are also indications of greater interaction between them and some Napalese groups (read Maoists)." It was during the Badal regime in Punjab naxalites were crushed by the state police in 1970s. But in view of renewed threat from them in states other than Punjab, Mr Badal said "serious efforts need to be made to contain these undercurrents from becoming a major threat." Stating that it were poverty,social inequalities and unemployment which posed a grave threat to peace and law and order in the country, he said it requires a response that goes beyond simplistic law and order approach.

Emphasising the need for removing conditions that breed lawlessness,militancy and extremism, Mr Badal said the tendency to use police as the only instrument to ensure peace and stability is "fundamentally flawed." Asserting that the absence of social justice and economic equality could threaten peace and stability in the country, the chief minister said development,justice and prosperity are prerequisites to peace.

Visualising the state which uses the police least as ideal, Mr Badal said this could be possible only when conditions that create the need for police intervention are removed. But unfortunately police are often asked to fight crisis created by "our failure to address the basic issues of poverty and unemployment," he said.

UNI

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