Ready for talks with Maoists: Siddaramaiah

Special Correspondent
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‘Only three or four districts hit by Left-wing extremism’

K.J. George, Home Minister, addressing a press conference in Udupi on Tuesday.
K.J. George, Home Minister, addressing a press conference in Udupi on Tuesday.

The State government is ready to hold talks with the Maoists and it would welcome any rebels who wanted to surrender themselves and join the mainstream of life, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said here on Tuesday.

In an interaction with the media at his official residence, Mr. Siddaramaiah maintained that the Left-wing extremist problem was ‘not very serious’ in Karnataka. “Only three or four districts are affected by this problem,” he said.

However, his government was serious in taking up development work in backward regions and forest areas prone to Left-wing extremism.

Asked whether Karnataka’s stand on the issue was not contrary to the Union government’s decision to act tough on naxals, Mr. Siddaramaiah said, “This is the stand of [my] government. We appeal to all those involved in these activities to come forward for a dialogue across the table.”

Focus on development

Udupi Special Correspondent reports:

Home Minister K.J. George said on Tuesday that the government would recruit 8,000 police personnel this year in the State.

Addressing presspersons after chairing a review meeting on the implementation of development work in naxalite-affected areas, Mr. George said that there was a shortage of 19,000 police personnel as recruitment had not been taken up in the last three or four years.

The Chief Minister and the Finance Department had given the nod for recruitment. Henceforth, recruitment would be done every year, he said.

As far as naxalite-affected areas were concerned, the police would recruit tribal youth from these areas. It would provide some relaxation in education and other parameters while recruiting policemen in these areas.

The government would set up an Anti-Terrorist Squad in the place of Anti-Naxalite Force. This squad will be given training not only in dealing with terrorism but also jungle warfare.

To a question, Mr. George said that the Chief Minister had urged the Centre to include Karnataka in the list of naxalite-affected States to get more funds for development work in such areas.

Asked how the list of naxalite-affected districts had gone up from four to seven in the State, he said that when the police took action in the affected districts, the naxalites moved to the neighbouring districts. There were about 30 naxalites in the State. Some of these 30 were from other States.

The government had hiked the amount paid under the naxalite surrender package. The relief amount for a surrendering naxalite had been increased from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh, he said and added that the amount for surrendering an AK-47 rifle had been increased from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000.

Vinay Kumar Sorake, Urban Development Minister, Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA, V. Umesh, Chief Additional Secretary (Home), Lalrokhuma Pachau, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, were present.

  • ‘Government is serious in taking up development work’

  • ‘Rebels welcome to join the mainstream of life’




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