We are not in favour of using armed forces to fight Naxalism: PM

      Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here on Sunday that his government is taking all steps necessary to deal with Naxalites, but he added, "We are not in favour of using armed forces to fight Naxalism". Addressing a press conference here, Dr. Singh said: "Naxalism is the greatest internal threat. In the months to come, there'll be positive results on the Naxal front." He also said that no group or individual could take the law into their hands. "We are not in favour of using armed forces to fight Naxalism. If the Naxals shed violence, we are willing to talk," he added. The Naxalites have become the gravest threat to internal security, forcing the Centre to consider an all-out offensive against them. They have killed more than 2,600 people, including civilians, in the last three years. The highest number of incidents of violence has taken place in the four worst affected states -- Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa -- where 2,212 people lost their lives between January 2006 and August this year. A recent instance of Maoist excess was an ambushed attack on a police patrol party in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli District. Twenty police personnel were killed in the attack. Earlier in the week, Naxals in Jharkhand had beheaded Special Intelligence police inspector Francis Endumar after keeping him in their custody for five days. On Friday, the Centre had announced an anti-naxal plan that includes deploying over 40,000 Central police personnel in states affected by the menace. The Centre has planned a Rs.7300-crore package for developmental works in Maoist-affected areas. Singh has in the recent past described Left-wing extremism as the gravest internal security threat and called for a nuanced strategy to tackle such violence. Last Wednesday, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said in Mumbai that the government was ready to hold a dialogue with the Naxals or supporters of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) provided they "abjure violence." "They [Maoists] use words like war and war of liberation. We do not regard our confrontation with them as war. We do not wage war against our own people," he said. "Maoists should take the path of democracy. We will help the State governments discuss with the Maoists all the issues of neglect, corruption, development etc," Chidambaram added.

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