New Delhi, Sept. 13: Home minister P. Chidambaram today described Left-wing extremism as the most violent movement in the country as he put the onus of governance on states to win the battle for minds and hearts in Maoist-affected areas.
The prod came at a workshop where the minister told collectors of 60 affected districts that the time had come to address the trust deficit among villagers.
Chidambaram cited figures to show that Left-wing rebels had killed more people than terrorists till August this year. The most violent movement in India is Left-wing extremism and not terrorism or insurgency. This year, 26 people were killed in terrorist attacks, 46 lost their lives in insurgency in the Northeast and 27 in Jammu and Kashmir, while 297 people were killed by Naxals, he said.
The goal of Left-wing extremism is not to bring about development but to overthrow parliamentary democracy and indulge in confrontation with the goal of elected governments, he told the workshop.
The meet had been organised to work out a strategy for better implementation of rural development schemes in Maoist-affected districts under the Integrated Action Plan, aimed at taking care of special development needs of the villagers.
Chidambaram said the burden of governance in Maoist-affected districts cannot be shifted from state governments to the Centre, which could only provide help in the battle against the rebels. The responsibility of governance in Left-wing-extremism-affected districts must rest with the states, he said.
We will provide all help but ultimately the state government must take ownership for what they do in the Naxal-hit districts, he told the collectors, responding to demands for greater central assistance in implementing development schemes.
Chidambaram said the battle was to win over the minds and hearts of villagers in areas with rebel presence.
The fight against Naxalism cannot be won unless villagers are on the side of the authorities. The villagers are not yet on our side or at least not all villagers are on our side because of trust deficit, governance deficit and development deficit, he said, reminding the officials again that the responsibility lay with state governments.
Chidambaram said state authorities needed to address this trust deficit by bonding with villagers in the affected zones. Chief ministers and ministers in those states should visit such villages, communicate with them and allocate more money to the affected districts. If villagers think Naxals are their friends and the government is their adversary, you cannot win the battle.
He said there was a proposal to bring 20 more districts under the Integrated Action Plan that now covers 60 districts.