Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today said his government has made major gains in the fight against Maoism, and it won't be long before Left-wing extremism is completely wiped out from the state.
When asked by NDTV's Prannoy Roy and team why the BJP had not succeeded in curbing Maoism in Chhattisgarh during its 15-year rule when former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao managed to bring peace in Punjab and Kashmir in just four, Mr Singh said: "True, we have governed this state since 2003, but Maoism isn't restricted to just Chhattisgarh. We are surrounded by six states."
Left-wing extremism remains a major problem in Chhattisgarh. A recent study showed civilian casualties in the state rising to a five-year high, with 43 dying in Maoist-perpetrated violence until September 23. Last week, at least five people were killed when Maoists blew up a bus in Dantewada district. A few days later, a fierce gunbattle broke out between security forces and Left-wing extremists after the latter triggered at least seven explosions in Antagarh village.
The BJP veteran -- who hopes to win a fourth term in office when the state assembly election results are declared on December 11 -- pointed out that his administration has been putting pressure on Maoists, and the results are there for everybody to see. "The movement has died out in Sarguja district. Maoism still exists in a small part of Bastar, but it is on the way out," he said. "They exist in a few patches such as Dantewada, Bijapur and Shitla, but we have brought peace to all the other areas."
The Chief Minister also defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that the Congress was supporting "urban Naxals", a reference to Left-leaning thinkers who were arrested across Maharashtra and Delhi over the last few months. "There are Maoists and there are those who support Maoists. It is important that they be exposed," said Mr Singh.
The Chhattisgarh government received a major boost when 62 Maoists laid down their arms before the police in Narayanpur district on November 6. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed it as a sign of the situation improving under the ruling BJP government, and congratulated the Chief Minister as well as the state police for bringing Left-wing extremists back into the mainstream.
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