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PM suggests "walk-on-two-legs" policy to deal with Maoists

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 13 (UNI) Seeking to motivate naxal-affected states to initiate another revolution of rural reforms, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today suggested a two-pronged strategy of effective police response and proper implementation of poverty alleviation schemes to tackle Maoist violence.

He said the police response was necessary to fulfil the obligation of the Indian state to uphold public order, but warned that an effective police response did not mean "that we need to brutalise the Indian state." In his concluding remarks at the five-hour-long meeting of Chief Ministers of the 13 naxal affected states, Dr Singh asked them to be humane in their approach towards naxalites, while stressing that legitimate needs and aspirations, even if set out in procedurally or presentationally inappropriate terms, should be examined with care and sympathy.

At the same time, he asked the states to strengthen their police system by including competent and motivated officers. "We should have a package of incentives to attract the best police personnel to anti-naxal operations.We will also need to consider measures for protecting policemen from undue harassment for actions taken against naxalites. State may even consider investing on effective para-policemen." "Our strategy, therefore, has to be to "walk on two legs-" to have an effective police response while at the same time focussing on reducing the sense of deprivation and alienation of the poor people in naxal affected areas,'' he said.

Dr Singh said "We are dealing after all, with our own people, even though they may have strayed into the path of violence," and stressed the need for an intelligent, effective police response, done quietly and discreetly.

While assuring all "possible support from the centre" to deal with naxal violence, Dr Singh asked the states to initiate another wave of rural reforms which could ensure employment and land to the poorest in the naxal dominated areas.

More UNI SH/AJ AT KP1536

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