Patil to visit naxal area

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Jagdalpur, May 9(UNI) In the wake of the Supreme Court criticising the Chhattisgarh government for arming of civilians to fight naxalites under 'Salwa Judum' campaign, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil will visit the troubled areas in Bastar region on May 11.

Though details of his itinerary are still being worked out, official sources said Mr Patil is scheduled to visit Golapalli and Pamed areas in Dantewara district to meet the tribals, affected by naxal movement.

After arriving here by a special plane, Mr Patil will visit the relief camps at Golapalli and Pamed. On his return here, he will address a meeting of senior officers on measures to tackle the naxalite menace affecting about a dozen districts in the state that came into existence in November, 2000.

In recent years, union ministers and other VVIPs are not visiting south Bastar, the worst hit by Maoist naxal movement for over two decades.

Following the BJP government-supported 'Salwa Judum' movement launched since June, 2005, more than 50,000 tribals from 300 villages had deserted their home and took shelter in government-run relief camps. Several camps also came under naxal attack.

Due to pathetic conditions in the camps with the government cutting ration and lack of employment, many tribals were deserting the camps.

Prior to the Union Home Minister's visit, State's Director General of Police Viswaranjan visited Golapalli, Kistoram and other areas by a helicopter on May 5. Mr Patil has no programme at state capital Raipur, the sources added.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi recently visited few tribal villages of Bastar district as part of his 'discover India tour'.

UNI XC-SP 1245

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