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Soren prefers talks to 'confrontation' with Naxals

Source: PTI
January 18, 2010 21:59 IST
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Treading cautiously, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren on Monday said he was not against using force to curb Naxalism, but maintained that if the solution lay in talks then there was no need for a "confrontation".

"If there is a need, then force can be used. But if the situation can be resolved without confrontation (takkar), why not solve it," he told journalists on Monday evening.

Soren was asked whether he would like to use force against Naxals active in his state.

He said his government was formulating a strategy to deal with Naxals and added he would like to ask those killing people to end violence and tell the government what they wanted.

"The question is whether they are naxals or not? The media has created a hype by claiming that naxals are active in the state," he said.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader said the state government's strategy to deal with Naxals would be formulated along with the Central government.

Soren, along with Deputy Chief Ministers Raghuvar Das and Sudesh Mahto, had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier on Monday. He termed the meeting a "courtesy call."

It was his first visit to Delhi after taking over as chief minister of Jharkhand.

State Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Raghuvar Das said there were no differences between alliance partners the BJP on one hand and the JMM and AJSU on the other in dealing with Naxalites.

"While development is the key to check the menace, government cannot remain a mute spectator to violence against its citizen," Das told journalists.

He blamed the Centre for failing to formulate a policy to deal with Naxalites. "Is Naxalism a law and order problem? Should extremists be treated as terrorist? The Centre should come out with a clear cut policy," he said.

On the issue of bringing out a common minimum programme of the ruling alliance, Mahto, who is also the AJSU leader, said the CMP would be released in a month's time. "All the challenges we face in the state would be part of the CMP," he added.

Earlier today, Soren and his two deputies met the prime minister and discussed issues relating to the state's development, Naxalism and holding of National Games in Ranchi.

"It was a courtesy call. We did not demand anything but told the Prime Minister that while Jharkhand is a (mineral) rich state, the people are poor," Soren told reporters after meeting Singh.

"We did not seek a package. We will first use our funds and if need be the Prime Minister assured us more financial help to take Jharkhand forward," he said.

Soren also demanded shifting the head office of Coal India Limited from Kolkata to Ranchi.

"We also raised the issue of holding National Games in Ranchi. A date will be fixed and games will be held in the state," Das said.
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