The Communist Party of India (Maoist) criticised on Friday the Centre's decision to appoint a retired Major-General of the Army as a member of the Unified Command for anti-Maoist operations in four States and issued a veiled threat to any person of that rank against taking charge of the post at the Centre's insistence.

In a voice-recorded press statement, Maoist Polit Bureau member Kishanji stated: “Whether retired or still in service with the Army, an Army officer will always be an Army officer, and this proves that Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram is engaging the defence forces to destroy the mass movement and kill people randomly. The decision to use increasing number of Air Force helicopters is also indicative of this fact.”

Following a meeting with the Chief Ministers and representatives of seven Maoist-affected States, Mr. Chidambaram had asked four States — Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal — to set up a Unified Command with a retired Major-General of the Army as a member.

“Appealing” to the retired Major-Generals of the Army not to get engaged in “a war against their own people”, Kishanji warned that “whoever [of the retired Major-General rank] will accept the offer of joining the Unified Command will be put on the same pedestal as Mr. Chidambaram, by the common people as well as the Maoists.” Claiming that neither the common man nor even a section of the UPA favoured the use of the defence forces to fight the Maoists, he accused Mr. Chidambaram of taking the decision “at the behest of the corporate world, the World Bank and the U.S.”

Decision on SPOs flayed

Kishanji also criticised the Centre's decision to increase the number of special police officers (SPO) in the States.

Alleging that not even one per cent of the funds allocated for the development of the tribal-dominated areas have been used for the wellbeing of the tribals, he slammed the Centre's announcement of a Special Development Plan with emphasis on road connectivity, primary education, healthcare and drinking water.

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