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December 23, 1999
Naxalites kill 12, including five cops, in Bihar
Our Correspondent in Patna
Twelve people were killed in two separate incidents of Naxalite violence in Bihar.
In a landmine blast today morning at Garh village six people, including five policemen, were killed.
The Maoist Communist Centre, the main Naxalite group active in the district, is believed to be behind the killing.
Police are carrying out combing operations in the area, official sources said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani assured the states of all help in tackling the problem of Naxalism even as he made it clear that it continues to be the primary responsibility of the state to fight it.
Replying to a calling-attention notice on the activities of Naxalites in various parts of the country, Advani told the Rajya Sabha that it was the Centre's policy to help the states meet the expenses for security-related operations and the cost of modernisation of their police forces.
He said that in Punjab the problem of terrorism was tackled basically through the efforts of the people of the state, the police and the government. This could serve as an example for other states facing such a situation.
The home minister said the government had an overall responsibility in the matter and was prepared to offer all the help to the states, but they would have to tackle the problem themselves.
In West Bengal's case, Advani said, both the Communist Party of India and the CPI (Marxist) had played a laudable role in fighting the problem of Naxalism which originated in that state. He said that in the initial days the Naxalite movement had attracted some of the country's best students, but with the passage of time the movement had degenerated. Later, some of them had even turned criminals killing one another.
Advani said an action plan to tackle left-wing extremist violence is being finalised by the Planning Commission in consultation with the states concerned.
In a statement, he said the plan would cover the security and developmental aspects of the affected areas in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and other states.
He admitted that extremist groups, which have a fairly large organisational structure and resources, are engaged in extending their spheres of influence.
The Centre has also taken various steps to help the states fight the menace by upgrading the weapons of the local police forces and training them in anti-extremist operations, he added.
The government has also formulated a scheme to reimburse 50 per cent of the expenditure incurred by states in tackling the problem of left-wing extremism.
The home minister told the Rajya Sabha that there was a downward trend in terms of the number of incidents of violence, but Andhra Pradesh and Bihar continue to remain at the forefront of Naxalite violence.
Seeking clarifications, Sanjay Nirupam of the Shiv Sena wanted to know how many such extremist groups are operating in various parts of the country. He suggested that security forces in the affected areas be strengthened.
Suresh Pachouri (Congress) said the Madhya Pradesh government had sent to the Centre a proposed scheme to tackle the problem in the state, but New Delhi had not responded with the financial help sought. He added that the extremists have more sophisticated equipment than the security forces.
Dr Y Radhakrishna Murthy, CPI-M, said a strong political will is needed to tackle the menace, which is spreading to many states. He said security forces should be given matching arms and equipment to check extremist activities.
M Venkaiah Naidu of the Bharatiya Janata Party asked the government to release a White Paper on the Naxalites and other extremist activities in the country. He said they were targeting people belonging to all parties. Many policemen had also been killed. There is a need for everyone to condemn these activities, he said, and wanted the government to continuously monitor the movement of the extremists.
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