Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maoists get arms from outside, obviously through Bengal-Bangladesh Border and North Bengal.

.Maoists get arms from outside: PC

PTI New Delhi

Maoists are acquiring weapons through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal, according to Home Minister P Chidambaram, who nonetheless has expressed Government's willingness for a dialogue with them provide they abjure violence.

Naxalism remains the biggest internal security threat to India, he said and hit out at intellectuals who still try to "romanticise" the naxalites.

In a wide-ranging interview to PTI on Saturday, Chidambaram said the Government is practical enough to understand that the Naxals would not not lay down arms.

He said said the West Bengal Government has "learnt a lesson very late" after the Lalgarh operation but he would not not comment much on the West Bengal Government's decision to secure the release of an abducted police official by not not opposing the bail application of about 20 pro-Maoist trials.

"In terms of the threat to security from Indian sources or internal sources, Naxalism remains the biggest threat. There is, of course, the other threat which is cross border terrorism but that is emanating from across the border," he said.

"There is no no evidence of any money flowing in from abroad to the Maoists. But there is certainly evidence of weapons being smuggled from abroad through Myanmar or Bangladesh which reaches the Maoists."

Asked whether some weapons are coming through Nepal, he said "it is possible".

To a question whether there is any Pakistan angle to it, Chidambaram said they were not not sure where the weapons are originating from.

"We know now that the weapons are coming through Bangladesh and Myanamr and possibly Nepal. The border is very porous. The Indo-Nepal border is a very porous border." He said police has not not found any weapons with Pakistani marking.

The Maoists had looted "our own armouries" and they had said that the objective of the attack on the Sankhrail police station in West Bengal was weapons and money.

"Even after this statement, if people romanticise the naxalities, all I can say that only God can help them," he said.

Asked if there are any groups from abroad backing the Maoists, the Minister said "I don't know. It is possible that they get some intellectual support. I hear voices of some human rights group from abroad which say that we have unleashed a war on the Maoists. That is the intellectual support I am referring to."

Asked if there is any evidence of external help to Maoists, Chidambaram said it may be at the level of intellectual or ideological level.

Queried about the Maoist leader Kishenji's statement that they would not not surrender arms and that forces should be withdrawn from the entire naxal-affected areas along with the release of the cadre and their supporters, he said "I am not not going to respond
to Kishenji."

Chidambaram said "he (Kishenji) is the leader of an organisation declared as unlawful. Therefore, as one representing the Government, I have no no intention of responding to him."

He said a few days ago when former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray and his friends issued a statement suggesting that violence should stop and talks should begin he felt it was his duty to write to him and state what the Government policy is.

"Let me state it in carefully chosen words that if any group abjures violence we are willing to talk to that group about any genuine grievances. This is what the Prime Minister has said, this is what I have said. We have not not asked them to anything more. We simply
say halt the violence and then we can talk," he said.

Asked if laying down arms is not not a condition, Chidambaram said he had not not used those words.

"Besides I am too practical to know they will not not lay down arms. They have to halt violence which means halt the wanton destruction of railway track, roads, telephone towers, school buildings, bridges, halt kidnapping and extortion.

"Violence must be stopped and then with the help of well-meaning people, we can find a way in which the State Governments primarily can talk to the groups in that State and the Central Government will afford any assistance it can to facilitate such talks," he said.

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