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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Use of armed forces against Maoists opposed

Urvashi Sarkar

NEW DELHI: Strongly opposing the use of armed forces in combating naxalite terror, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) national secretary D. Raja said here on Saturday that nothing would be achieved by involving the Army and the Air Force.
Mr. Raja was speaking at a meeting organised by Janhastakshep, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR).
Tamils’ plight

Citing the example of Sri Lanka, Mr. Raja said: “Sri Lanka thinks it has won the war against the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] by deploying its Army, Navy and Air Force. But has the problem been solved? Look at the plight of the Tamils there.”
The CPI(M) would be at the forefront in opposing any government move to deploy the armed forces, Mr. Raja said while clarifying that the CPI(M) also did not approve of the Maoists’ methodology. “We have differences with the Maoists, which is why we are separate.”
Asking the government to take responsibility for neglecting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, he said, “Special Component Plans and Tribal Sub Plans have been introduced for the SC and the ST communities respectively, but 11 States including Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam have not earmarked separate funds for these plans.” He added that the neglect by the government had alienated the tribal communities.
“The armed forces should not be used against our own citizens as the armed forces in any country, particularly in India, enjoy a degree of affection in the minds of the people enjoyed not even by the police or the paramilitary forces,” said Admiral (retd.) R.H. Tahiliani.
Contrary to the government’s claim that the Army was not being involved, there was evidence to suggest its involvement, Professor G.N. Saibaba of Delhi University said.
“The joint command of the paramilitary forces, police, Army and the Air Force has already been constituted with regard to the naxal problem. The Army is involved in logistics and planning operations. News of involvement of the armed forces appears regularly in the Chhattisgarh media. We must strongly protest against the involvement of the armed forces. We did not protest much against the Army’s involvement in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeast because it lay outside our imagination, but now it is at the centre,” he added.
“Governments of the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance have referred to Maoists as the biggest threat to India’s internal security. However, it is the threat of the people to destabilise the ruling classes that has the government worried,” said Janhastakshep member Pankaj Singh.
The government’s motive was to displace the tribals from their land and make it available for foreign investment, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy member Aparna charged.

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