Taking full responsibility for the Dantewada massacre by Maoists, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said the 'buck stops at my desk'.
"I have been asked directly or indirectly where the buck stops for what happened in Dantewada. I have no hesitation in saying the buck stops at my desk," he said at a CRPF function.
"I accept full responsibility for what happened in Dantewada. Immediately on my return from Chhattisgarh, I called on Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and gave it in writing that I accept full responsibility for what happened and I think I will stop there," he said.
Declining to comment any further, Chidambaram said, "Let me not elaborate. I am proud of the CRPF."
Seventy five personnel from CRPF's 62nd Battalion and one Chhattisgarh policeman were killed in an ambush by the Maoists in Dantewada on Tuesday.
During a visit to the Maoist stronghold of Lalgarh on April 4, Chidambaram had said he had told West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that the 'buck stops' with him on stopping political violence in the state.
Upset over the remark, the chief minister had retorted that this was not the language used by politicians and that he will do his job and the home minister should do his. Refuting certain media reports, that the slain CRPF men were not well-equipped or trained, the home minister said, "Much has been written in the last few days. Some of it has pleased me, some of it has pained me. For example, it is been written that the companies of the 62nd Battalion were poorly trained, poorly equipped and they did not arrive with preparedness."
"It is also written that the police forces that are deployed in these areas kill indiscriminately, rape women. Anyone who puts pen to paper, writes these words, certainly has no heart and no conscience. Very little is written about the valour, very little is written about the bravery. Very little is written about that even when they came in the ambush, the companies managed to kill eight Moaists, as intelligence reports and other reports tell us today," he said.
Chidambaram, who was speaking at the 'Shourya Diwas' (valour day) function of the CRPF, said, "I ask everyone humbly, respectfully that even if you cannot hold the front line and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave jawans, please do not be disrespectful to the jawans. Please do not be disrespectful to our forces."
The home minister said he knew his responsibilities well and it was to "see that we have a well-paid, well-fed, well-housed, well-trained, well-equipped and well-motivated police force."
Stressing that the paramilitary forces under him are undertaking training as an essential component, Chidambaram said, "When I took over, a handful of companies were under training. Today, as I speak to you, out of the 186 executive battalions (of CRPF), 186 companies are under training. We have made it a rule that one company in any battalion shall at any time be under training and be given rest and recuperation."
He also said that his ministry will ensure that the families of slain jawans received compensation by the end of April and one member from each family gets a job. Noting that the government will always stand by the security forces, the home minister said they performed duties so that people could live in freedom, liberty and democracy.
"I am proud of the innumerable duties the CRPF is called upon to perform. I salute all those who laid down their lives and my heart goes out to their families," Chidambaram said.