Intellectual support to Maoists made the task of tackling them “very difficult” as it confused people, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Friday.

The most difficult element in dealing with naxalites was lack of trained policemen. It was followed by intellectual and material support. The Maoists seduced the media as they unleashed false charges in courts and pulled all strings to activate their frontal organisations, including the unsuspecting non-government organisations, to widen their circle of influence for support.

“But don’t forget the bottom line — the CPI(Maoists) believe in armed liberation struggle. “Accept it or reject it. There can be no half-way approach. Most people still think there could be a compromise or some kind of median approach. This is immature and foolish,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said the government was following a policy on naxalites but it would take some time for the results to become visible, and in the meantime they would continue to try every trick in the bag to garner support, he said at an interaction with the Indian Women’s Press Corps on Friday.

He admitted that the situation on the naxalite front was bad. “This is expected because as long as we did not engage them, they were happy and expanding. They will continue to expand unless we challenge them.”

Denying that any operation was being carried out under the name of “Operation Green Hunt” in Chhattisgarh, he said the Centre was just assisting the States in reclaiming the areas under Maoists control. “This is a careful, controlled and calibrated move with no carnage or collateral damage.”

The Minister admitted that there were police excesses in certain areas of Maoist dominance. He said, “I will hold the State government accountable if they commit excesses.”

There was need to take control of Maoist areas, establish a civil administration and ensure development. “The troops have been told you don’t fire till you are fired upon. The objective is only to reach the areas.”

Explaining his offer of talks to Maoists if they abjured violence, he said he did not ask them to lay down arms or disband their organisation. “I said give up violence for 72 hours, give me 72 hours to consult everyone and respond to your giving up violence and we will find a way out.”

More In: National | News