Art 355 can be amended to deal with Naxal menace: Patil

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said Articles 355 and 356 of the Constitution dealing with internal situation could be amended provided there was political consensus in the country to tackle the Naxalite menace.

Speaking on a private member's resolution in Rajya Sabha on tackling the problem of naxalism, Mr Patil said many members had made this suggestion favouring amending the Constitution as a way to deal with this problem to maintain public order and it could be considered.

Admitting that the situation in the Naxal-hit states was ''very grim'', the Home Minister, however, described as an ''exaggeration'' that little had been done by the Centre. Such charges not only created a fear psychosis but also helped those in the business of creating terror, he said.

Elaborating, he said Rs 76,000 crore had been spent on police modernisation in the backward districts of the Naxal-infested states. Of this, Rs 10,000 crore was being given each year for the past five years.

In addition, Rs 10,000 crore was allocated annually to these states for the Employee Guarantee scheme, and Rs 11,000 crore on the Prime Minister's Rural Road Development scheme. All this, he pointed out, were over and above the allotment made for the states concerned.

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