Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday assured the nation that he would never give place for terrorism, unleashed either from the foreign soil or from forces within the country such as the Maoists, until a last drop of blood was left in his body.
Reacting to the rejection of his appeal to the CPI (Maoist) to halt violence in order to facilitate talks with the State Governments concerned, he said: "No one. Neither a local rowdy on the streets nor a Naxalite has the right to indulge in violence or armed conflict in this country."
Mr. Chidambaram was addressing a public meeting organised by the Congress party here in view of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s 25th death anniversary. Stating that the departed leader wanted the nation to be integrated, he said: "We should take oath to keep the country united without giving an opportunity for any kind of division."
"The Maoists are not aliens. They are one amongst us. We are ready to give them their rights. They have the prerogative to fight for their rights in a peaceful manner, the right to criticise us, the right to call us land grabbers… But they do not have the right to indulge in terrorism," he said.
"Their polit bureau has rejected our appeal to halt violence. What to do know? As a Home Minister, what should I do know? What advice should I give to the Prime Minister? Do the people accept terrorism and armed revolution? I know the answer is ‘no’ and I’ll tell that to the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi," he said.
Mr. Chidambaram said that the country would go into ruins if the aim of the Maoists to occupy power in the Centre through armed revolution was allowed. "We had misjudged the capabilities of the Naxals in the last 12 to 13 years. Now they have raised their heads… They are acting like an army," he added.
On terrorism being unleashed from foreign soil, the Minister said: "I had warned Pakistan on many occasions. I assure you all that we will give a fitting reply if there were any other untoward incidents in the future. Our strength to tackle Pakistan is growing day by day."
Referring to the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said that no other political party but for the Congress had lost so many national leaders in the last 62 years due to terrorism. "The cost we have paid for terrorism cannot be compensated in any way."
He urged the senior leaders to give way for youngsters because they know, better, the needs of the society and said that providing free and compulsory education to all children, food guarantee and amending the Constitution to ensure better management of cooperative societies were among the schemes to be implemented in the next five years.
He also recalled the welfare measures taken by the last UPA Government such as introduction of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, representation for women in local bodies, waiver of farm loan to the tune of Rs.65,318 crore and provision of Rs. 26,000 crore towards education loan.