Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Saturday said that he disagreed with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that no talks will be held with Maoists and a befitting reply given if attacked.
“Theoretically I disagree with what he has said. Naxalism cannot be solved with the help of gun. We have to find the underlying reasons behind it. The only solution lies in all-round development of society,” Mr. Manjhi told reporters in Patna.
Our intention is to bring so much development in Bihar that issues like Naxalism automatically get solved. If we take development to the huts of the poor people it will definitely end Naxalism
“Frustration over lack of socio-economic-educational development and employment, as well as unavailability of justice among the weaker sections has led to naxalism. The answer to it lies only in development,” Mr. Manjhi said.
Mr. Manjhi said former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to solve the Maoist issue in the state and took up development work for marginalised people to tackle it.
“This policy actually helped and now the situation in the state has changed so much that our Maoist brothers have to work hard to search for new recruits. Young men don’t want to join them. Development weans people away from Naxalism,” he said.
“Our intention is to bring so much development in Bihar that issues like Naxalism automatically get solved. If we take development to the huts of the poor people it will definitely end Naxalism,” added Mr. Manjhi.
On Friday, ruling out talks with Maoists, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has said forces will give a “befitting reply” if they are attacked and announced that it will fully fund the formation of elite commando force in states to deal with the menace.
Mr. Singh, who met top civil and police brass of ten states affected by Left Wing Extremism, told them that enough funds will be provided to equip and modernise their respective police forces.
“There is no question of any talks now. We will take a balanced approach. But the forces will give a befitting reply if the Naxals launch attacks,” Mr. Singh has told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting in Delhi.
A Home Ministry official later said talks with the Maoists will be held only if they shun violence and come forward for a dialogue.
Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar, Mr. Manjhi also said that he wanted the Public Distribution System to be run in the state with the help of Primary Agriculture Cooperatives, NGOs and Self Help Groups related to Bihar Rural Livelihood Project also known as Jeevika.
Mr. Manjhi said if PDS shops needed to be given to individuals, they would be given to people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
He said these issues were discussed with Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in a meeting on Friday.