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Chhattisgarh to launch major offensive against naxals: Raman

Written by: Staff
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Raipur, Mar 1 (UNI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh tonight hinted at the possibility of launching a major offensive against Naxalites in the wake of yesterday's landmine blast at Dantewada.

''We are determined to take toughest possible action against the Maoists,'' he said while talking to newspersons at his residence after visiting those injured in the yesterday's landmine blast triggered by the naxalites at Darbhaguda in South Bastar in which 27 people were killed and 40 others injured.

''The killing of innocent villagers has exposed the real face of Maoists before the world. The incident is unfortunate,'' he said adding it also indicated that the local population of Bastar were not not safe in their own villages because of the Naxalite threat.

Pointing out that Maoists had pooled all their resources and strength in Chhattisgarh to unleash terror so as to supress the peoples' movement against extremist violence, the Chief Minister said it was for the first time that the people of a Naxalite affected state have come out in open against the Maoists.

''The Naxalites want to supress this movement so as to prevent the possibility of peoples' revolt against them in other states as well,'' he said adding that the Maoists from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh were also active in the border areas.

Replying to a question about the ongoing 'Salwa Judum', the peoples movement against Naxalites in Bastar, the Chief Minister said, in a democracy everyone has the right to raise their voice against any injustice. ''The movement is the outcome of a spontaneous reaction of the people against the three-decade-old problem of Naxalite violence in the region,'' he said adding despite such incidents the morale of the people was high and they would continue their struggle against Naxalism.

However, Mr Singh did not not rule out the possibility of changing the concept and pattern of ongoing 'Salwa Judum' in view of the recent incidents of violence. ''Its a peaceful struggle by the people and it will definitely continue,'' he added.

When his attention was drawn towards Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's reported statement that Chhattisgarh government had 'definite' intelligence inputs about Naxalite attack in the region, the Chief Minister said there were no such specific inputs.

''Naxalites had laid landmines at different places. Its a difficult task to identify those places,'' he added.

Asked whether the doors were still open for talks with the Maoists even after such incident, Mr Singh said any such initiative for talks should come from the Centre as Naxalism was a national problem affecting a vast population spread over in several states. ''If the Centre takes initiative to hold talks with the Maoists, we are ready to join,'' he added.

UNI JJ AK KN2242

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