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CM for soft approach to rebels

Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi releases a book during a seminar on ‘Inclusive education and social diversity in Bihar’ in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, June 28: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi advocated a soft approach to Maoists while speaking to the media today.

Reacting to a question related to Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s “no talks with Naxalites” stand, Manjhi stressed: “One must find why a person becomes a Naxalite. If economically and socially backward classes do not get their dues they get frustrated. If they do not get employment there is frustration. We want to deal with development through development.

The chief minister pointed out that Maoist-related violence had come down in the state because of efforts by his predecessor, Nitish Kumar, to bring in development in areas that were once the hotbed of Maoist violence.

Nitish had launched a government-at-your-door scheme in Maoist-affected areas and opposed the proposal to launch Operation Green Hunt there.

There was a declining trend in Maoist violence in the state during Nitish’s regime, except for a few incidents in regions like Jamui, close to the border with Jharkhand. Other areas like Arwal, Gaya, Jehanabad and Aurangabad, which used to see Maoist violence earlier, have seen largely peaceful days in the recent past.

Manjhi hinted that he would continue with Nitish’s policy towards Maoists. He said: “Our intention is to bring so much development in Bihar that issues like Maoism get automatically solved. If we take development to the huts of the poor people it will definitely bring an end to Maoism,” Manjhi said.

On Thursday, ruling out talks with the Maoists, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had said forces would give a “befitting reply” if they are attacked and announced that the Centre would fully fund the formation of an elite commando force in states to deal with the Red menace.

The home minister, who met top civil and police brass of 10 states affected by Left-wing extremism, including Bihar, told them that enough funds would be provided to equip and modernise their respective police forces. “There is no question of any talks now. We will take a balanced approach. But the forces will give a befitting reply if the Naxalites launch attacks,” Rajnath had told reporters after chairing a high level meeting in Delhi.


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