The state would not bend before any militant or insurgent group that used violence as an instrument of policy to achieve political demands, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram asserted on Wednesday. He, however, reiterated his offer of talks with north-east insurgents and Maoists, provided they suspended violence.
“If insurgent groups come for talks, they will be treated with dignity and honour. This applies to Maoists too. They should realise that violence does not pay,” Mr. Chidambaram said at his monthly press conference.
The Minister's talks' offer comes a week after Maoist leader Kishenji was killed in an encounter with security forces in West Bengal.
“Yes, it applies to Maoists also. I have made this statement several times before and I make it again today as I complete three years in office. Even Maoists can come for talks. But they should suspend violence. We are not asking for more at this stage. Just say there will be no violence and my offer stands. After consulting the Chief Ministers concerned, we will get in touch with them within 72 hours and fix the dates and venue for talks,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram dismissed allegations that Kishenji was killed in a fake encounter. He said there were “no doubts” that the Maoist leader was killed in a gun battle with security forces that began on November 23 and concluded the next day.
“The Director-General of the CRPF who visited the place of encounter spoke to me and briefed me personally. He also spoke to the team that was engaged in the gun battle as well as to senior police officers of West Bengal. In accordance with the National Human Rights Commission guidelines, the State government has set up an inquiry into the death of Kishenji, which is being conducted by the CID,'' he said.
In the wake of the killing, the police and security forces in the Left Wing Extremism-affected areas had been asked to remain on alert, he added.
“The government has never encouraged fake encounters or killing of persons after they are apprehended by security forces. Militant organisations, especially the CPI (Maoist), have indulged in wanton killings over the years. In November alone, three members of the security forces and 27 civilians were killed in naxalite violence,” Mr. Chidambaram noted.
In his monthly report of the Home Ministry, a statement, giving details of killings reportedly by Maoists in November, was attached. It said that Naxalites killed 30 persons, including three security personnel, in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
On AFSPA in J&K
Mr. Chidambaram said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah “wants to denotify some areas that were originally notified as disturbed areas” so that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) could be removed from such areas.
The denotification decision would be taken by the Governor on the advice of the State government. Mr. Abdullah's efforts were in pursuant to a decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which requested him to review the matter in the Unified Headquarters. On the report submitted by the government-appointed interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari, he said it was a “practical road map” and suggested a way forward to find a solution to the political issues of the State.
“We are considering the report. I have already briefed the CCS once. They have asked for a fuller briefing. We are trying to schedule another meeting of the CCS. Once the full briefing is done, the CCS will decide to make the report public. The report will be made public,” he said.
On Pakistan's efforts to unravel the conspiracy behind 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he said the fact was that Pakistan did not supply voice samples to India and it did not arrest the “true perpetrators” of the attack.
Resolution under consideration
Mr. Chidambaram said his Ministry was examining the resolution of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly that proposed division of the State into four States. “We have just received a four-line resolution passed by the Assembly. The matter is being examined in the Ministry of Home Affairs.”