NEW DELHI, MAY 21 (PTI)
Voicing serious concern over "growing influence" of Naxalism across the country, a Parliamentary Committee has said it is "no more" a law and order problem but posed a threat to internal security and asked the Government to curb it with an "iron hand".
"It is no more a law and order problem but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from their declaration of Compact Revolutionary Zone or red corridor from Nepal to Tamil Nadu, almost a third of the country's total area," the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by Sushma Swaraj, said in its report tabled in Parliament.
It quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's observation at a meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal-affected states last month that "…it would not not be an exaggeration to say that the problem of Naxalism is the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country." The 30-member Committee of MPs from both Houses including BJP leader L K Advani, said "there is, therefore, an urgent need to curb the Naxal activities with an iron hand and simultaneously adddress the associated eonomic problem." The Committee said on Friday that there is need for more seriousness in implementing the programmes for developing the infrastructure in the affected districts, to improve the economic conditions of the people and winning back the confidence of those who are alienated from the mainstream of the society and are aligning with the Naxalites.
The present strength of armed Naxalite cadres is around 7,200 and Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations last year as against 517 in 2004 and 518 in 2003, according to information furnished to it by the Union Home Ministry.
Overall, parts of 76 disticts in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, though in varying degrees, have been affected by Naxal violence.
Naxals have also been trying to increase their influence and activity in parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttaranchal.
The Home Ministry, in its performance budget, has attributed the increase in Naxal violence and deaths in Andhra Pradesh to the unilateral withdrawal by Naxalites from the peace talks (with the state government in 2004) and consequent stepping up of violent activities by them.
In Chhattisgarh, the violence has been due to resistance being put up by activists of 'Salva Judum', an anti-Naxalite movement, and the efforts of the security forces to dislodge the ultras from their strongholds.
Increased violence in Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka was indicative of the increased military capabilities of CPI (Maoists) in these areas, according to the report.
Recalling its earlier reports, the Parliamentary Committee said it had been impressed upon the Home Ministry to adopt a holistic apprach in tackling the Naxal menace and made fresh plea to it to evolve ways to this effect.
Giving its reaction to the developments, the Ministry had told the Committee that Government viewed Naxal menace as a matter of serious concern and was adopting a multi-pronged approach to address the problem on political, security and development fronts in a coordinated manner.