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(Rpting, changing number in para four)

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) The government today said there is no evidence that the country's naxalites have any links with external forces and that the rank and file of naxalites are not anti-nationals.

In an interview to Doordarshan News in the programme ''War and Peace'', Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said the naxalites are not anti-national but some of the ''cunning leaders are trying to lead them astray by exploiting their problems''.

He said to solve the naxalite problem, there is a need to address the problems of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy from the affected areas.

Meanwhile the center is strengthening the paramilitary forces by raising new battalions, especially that of Special Services Bureau, SSB. '"We are making it double. About 20 rpt 20 battalions are being raised in SSB. Some more in CRPF,'' Mr Jaiswal said, adding the centre is also encouraging state governments to raise India Reserve Batalions to reduce ther load on the para military forces.

''We are ready to pay (the state government) to raise India Reserve Battalions,'' he said.

Mr Jaiswal said despite difference, the opposing political parties are now putting their heads together to work for national security.

''There is some consensus among the rival political parties. By this consensus we are going ahead,'' he said.


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