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Updated: November 20, 2009 18:16 IST

Sonia, Pillai castigate Maoists

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi waves to the party supporters during an election campaign at Dhanbad in Jharkhand on Friday. She described Naxalism as the foremost challenge the State was facing.
PTI Congress president Sonia Gandhi waves to the party supporters during an election campaign at Dhanbad in Jharkhand on Friday. She described Naxalism as the foremost challenge the State was facing.

Terming Naxalism as the foremost challenge before Jharkhand, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said violence cannot be a solution to any problem and that everything can be solved through dialogue.

“Non-violence is the only way to solve all problems. The Congress believes that problems can be solved peacefully and through dialogue,” Ms. Gandhi said while addressing poll meetings in Dhanbad and Dumka.

This State (Jharkhand) has many challenges in hand with “Naxalism being the foremost.”

“There is no place for violence in democracy,” she said, adding that youth have strayed away as they have been deprived of proper education and employment.

“The Congress would address the problems of everybody,” Ms. Gandhi said and promised welfare to all sections of the society, including tribals, dalits and backwards.

There would not be any displacement without proper rehabilitation, she said.

Union Home Secretary on Maoists

Meanwhile, in Bhubaneswar, Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai described Maoists as terrorists.

Terming Thursday’s attack on a passenger train in Jharkhand as a ‘cowardly act’, he said that Maoists were terrorists and he had no sympathy for them.

“There is no difference between terrorists and Maoists. They are making railway stations, trains, mobile towers and schools as their soft targets. They also held up a train in West Bengal. I have no sympathy for them,” Mr. Pillai said after a meeting with senior Orissa government officials here.

Stating that coordinated operations by different states with help from the Centre could be beneficial for fighting Maoists, he said no military action was being planned against the extremists, but efforts were being made to restore the civil administration.

Asked about the possibility of aerial attack on Maoists who sheltered in forests and hilly terrains after operations, he said “We do not need to go for aerial attack on Maoists.”

Eight bogies of the Tata-Bilaspur passenger train derailed on Thursday night after Maoists blew up railway tracks in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district.

On a proposal to provide a helicopter to Orissa for anti-Maoist operations, he said the Centre had granted Rs 5 crore for it.

Stating that most states remained under-policed, Mr. Pillai said that the ratio should be 220 policemen for every one lakh population.

“But there is only 120 policemen per one lakh population which is inadequate. Then there are vacancies,” he said.

On the requirement of a helicopter, Chief Secretary T K Mishra said that the state government needed more funds for a large one.

“The Centre had agreed to give more funds for it,” Mr. Mishra told reporters.

The state also requires more central para-military forces, additional funds to modernise the police and central police training institutes, he said.

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