Terming Naxals as the biggest terrorists, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Wednesday said there cannot be a “soft line” to deal with Maoists but disfavoured use of air power to combat the menace.
Attributing the recent spur in the Naxal violence to frontal operations by the security forces in the state, Mr. Singh favoured a long-term action joint action plan with the Centre to tackle the problem.
Mr. Singh is in the capital to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia two days after the Naxal attack in Dantewada left 35 people dead including 14 SPOs.
Giving details of the Maoist activities in the last 10 years in Chhattisgarh, he said the ultras have killed more than 1000 civilians and more than 650 policemen besides blowing up 132 electric towers, 106 school buildings and three hospitals in the state.
“Who else can be termed as terrorists. They are the biggest terrorists....Naxalism is a biggest challenge to democracy. They want to capture power at gunpoint,” the chief minister said.
“There cannot be a softline (towards Naxals)...What have we achieved in the last 60 years by adopting a softline?” he asked.
He also disfavoured use of air power, saying “it is not possible to go for bombing in those areas which are covered by dense forest. The army helicopter can be used only for rescue and relief operations.”