Left-wing extremism is a greater challenge to the country than terrorism in terms of the number of lives lost in violence, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday.
"Terrorism is a major challenge for the security and sovereignty of our country. But left-wing extremism is a greater challenge than terrorism in terms of the number of people killed in violence," Chidambaram said.
"Ten times more people are killed in Naxal attacks than in terror strikes in the country. We are building capacities to deal with them," he told a special session organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
There are two planks to deal with the problem of extremism. The first plank is the development of the affected areas and the other is improvement in the law and order situation, he said.
Citing the example of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Chidambaram said no one is able to go to the Nazalism-affected area due to which there is no development.
"Wherever development can take place, it should take place with the help of security forces. Wherever not, security forces should go and regain control of the regions. The process will take some years," he said.
The Union home minister said the Centre and states like West Bengal had urged Naxalites to suspend violence and come to the table for talks.
"We are not asking them to shed their ideology or to lay down their arms, we are simply asking them to shed violence and come for talks. These are conflicts which will take time to resolve," he said.