Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray Monday said there was need to “crush” the terror unleashed by “Maoist devils” in several states of India.
In an editorial piece in the party’s mouthpiece Saamna, Mr. Thackeray condemned the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh that virtually left the state Congress headless and said the treatment meted out to terrorists like Ajmal Amir Kasab and Afzal Guru should also extend to those responsible for Saturday’s strike.
“They should be slapped with the same stringent laws that deal with Indian Mujahideen, Laskhar-e-Taiba, Al Qaeda or other anti-national religious forces,” Mr. Thackeray said.
“State and central governments should take the strongest possible action to crush the Maoists,” Mr. Thackeray said.
The terror strike on Saturday, conducted by a large number of Maoists lying in ambush in the thickly forested Darbha Valley in Bastar, targeted a Congress convoy and left about 30 dead, including state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son as well as senior leader Mahendra Karma.
Chhattisgarh is bound for assembly elections later this year, and its ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Vikas Yatra and the opposition Congress’ Parivartan Yatra have both been opposed by the Maoists.
At least 25 people were injured in the attack on Saturday, among them 84-year-old former union minister V.C. Shukla.
The Congress has alleged that the ruling BJP did not provide the party yatra adequate security.
“Instead of such politicking, all concerned must unitedly tackle the Maoist menace which has created mayhem in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, besides Chhattisgarh where hundreds of innocent lives of people and security forces have been lost,” Mr. Thackeray said.
He recalled how recently, Maoists did not allow village panchayat elections to be conducted in Chandrapur, where they publicly beheaded a village sarpanch as a warning to others.
“When the Pakistani army beheaded Indian soldiers, there was a national uproar, but when Maoists resort to similar actions in our country, we chose to ignore it.”
Mr. Thackeray said that in neighbouring Nepal, Maoists managed to capture power, but the revolution was rendered rudderless. “There is more misery and poverty in that country than before, and now the Maoists are talking of bringing democracy in Nepal.”
Mr. Thackeray said it is time to stop talking about the financial problems which fuel Maoist terrorism. Debt-ridden farmers in Vidarbha or the drought-hit in Marathwada are not taking arms.
“Maoism is as cruel, brutal and terrible as Islamic terror, and they have access to sophisticated arms and ammunition by which they want to break up the country,” Mr. Thackeray said.