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Bengal and Chhattisgarh agree on joint operation against Naxals

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, July 6 (UNI) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh today agreed to move the Centre for coordinating an integrated joint action against Naxals in the affected states.

''We agreed that an integrated joint action is the only way to tackle the Naxalite activities which the centre has to accept,'' Dr Singh told reporters after a meeting with Mr Bhattacharjee at the Writers' Buildings.

Talking for about half-an-hour, the BJP Chief Minister and his Marxist counterpart decided to take up the issue with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister during their next visits to Delhi.

Describing Naxalism as a big problem in states like Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, Dr Singh said so far there had been only inter-state operations against the underground extremists, but the situation demanded a larger scale of operation inovolving all the states with an active coordination by the Centre.

He said Jharkhand and Orissa had already talked about the necessity for an integrated operation to shoot down the Naxalite activities, growing across a large part of the country.

''With Naxalites using sophisticated AK-47 rifles and RDX explosives and adopting guerilla warfare tactics, it is difficult for any state to tackle them altogether. Besides, entrenched in the difficult hilly terrains, these extremists are also difficult to be tracked down,'' Dr Singh observed.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister said the kind of arms and ammunition were at the disposal of Naxals showed that they had links with international terrorist organisations.

To a question, Dr Singh said there was an urgent need to increase the exchange of intelligence between the centre and states on Naxalite activities.

He, however, claimed that the anti-Naxal 'Salva Juram' movement by local tribals were increasingly gaining ground in Chhatisgarh, as the extremists were getting isolated from the local people.

The Chhattisgarh Government was extending all help to 'Salva Juram' activists, including arms training, Dr Singh said.

During the meeting, both the Chief Ministers also talked about the need for enhancing royalties on coal and iron ore and other issues of common interest.


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