The massacre of 55 securitymen by naxalites at a police base camp in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh early on Thursday is unfortunate. It is more proof of the ineptitude of the UPA Government at the Centre with regard to internal security. The Union Home Minister has ceremoniously done his duty of condemning the incident and speaking to the Chief Minister concerned. Is it enough? What steps have been taken by the UPA Government in the last three years to tackle this menace? What improvements have been made to the anti-naxalite infrastructure? Is the Centre communicating and coordinating effectively with the naxalite-affected States? Is it getting inputs from intelligence agencies, and what action has it taken? What are its plans to motivate the demoralised police force? The Centre owes an answer to the people of this country.

B.R. Haran,
Chennai

The early morning assault on the policemen deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. It is a timely warning to the Centre and the States to take necessary action to put down the extremists.

Ullas Krishnan K.,
Thrissur

The attack on the police camp and the looting of arms and ammunition from there is a matter of great concern. The local population not getting involved in the conflict is obviously because of their fear of the naxalites. India is a country where democracy has been firmly established. Armed revolution is not necessary to achieve any objective. In any case, the massacre of innocents for a political objective cannot be tolerated and should be dealt with firmly.

O.B. Nair,
Poonithura

The incident is proof that the Centre has not approached the issue with the seriousness it deserves. The UPA chairperson, the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister, and others have issued rhetorical statements condemning and calling it as cowardly act. These are, however, not enough. Unless all anti-naxalite activities are brought under a unified command with all support from the Centre, there can be no real success.

N. Ramamurthy,
Chennai

A tragic incident. Immediate action must be taken to bring to book those who mowed down the policemen. The Central and State Governments must jointly inquire into the cause of so many people becoming naxalites. The problem must be treated as a socio-economic issue rather than one relating to law and order. It must be ensured that all development and employment programmes reach each and every citizen.

Khaja Hameeduddin,
Hyderabad

The fact that many of the policemen were killed in their sleep reveals the callousness of the naxalites. The State police forces need to be modernised to tackle these naxalites.

N. Neeraj,
Puducherry

The Indian state does not seem to have learnt any lessons from the repeated attacks carried out by naxalites in various parts of the country. Even now, the governments both in the States and at the Centre are approaching the whole issue from a law and order point of view. Instead of deploying more paramilitary forces and buying new weapons, the Government must take initiatives to implement effective land reform programmes. At the same time, it should also not turn a blind eye to the un-reported attacks on Dalits that are growing in the rural hinterland.

Eldho Mathews,
Kottayam

The naxalites have exposed the incompetence of the Central and State Governments. Unless the major political parties sink their differences and adopt a united approach to tacking the menace, India's dream of becoming an economic superpower will remain a dream. The political parties should take this as a challenge.

P.U. Krishnan,
Udhagamandalam

The condemnation of the incident by Ministers and officials was expected. What is truly mindboggling is that despite warnings, the state continues to wake up only after a lethal strike such as the one on Thursday occurs. Toning up the intelligence services and increasing coordinated efforts in the affected States is the need of the hour. What should be noted is that naxalism flourishes mainly in poverty-stricken pockets. Redress of the people's grievances and bringing them into the mainstream can help cut off the local support for the naxalites.

Sanjay Dey,
New Delhi

The root cause of the problem has to be understood and preventive steps taken in consultation with the State governments. Exploitation of the poor has to be checked. This can be achieved by literacy and fulfilling the basic needs of the poor through proper planning.

Ramprasad J.,
Ongole

Most of the State governments are not equipped to contain the menace. Perhaps the time has come for the Centre to despatch the CRPF and the BSF to assist the States in fighting naxalism.

J.N. Mahanty,
Puri