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45 pc of India under terror shadow

45 pc of India under terror shadow

Author: Times News Network
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 8, 2004
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/951082.cms

Don't look for enemies outside for there is a siege within. The task force report on internal security, formed after the Kargil war, says about 45 per cent of India's geographical area, covering 220 districts, is in grip of insurgency of some kind.

The threat from the Naxals is the worst. From 55 districts and nine states in October 2003, Naxalite violence has spread to 156 districts in 13 states in just one year. The Opposition, led by BJP MP Arun Shourie, bombarded the Rajya Sabha with these alarming statistics.

Suggesting that the UPA government's olive branch to the Naxal groups in Andhra Pradesh hasn't converted foes into friends, the Opposition came out heavily on the government's handling of internal security.

"Please desist using phrases like sky is the limit and we are keeping all options open," Shourie warned the government.

The debate on internal security started with a very cordial resolve: "The issue is too grave to boast each other's (the UPA government and the NDA's) doings." But both sides found it difficult not to pit NDA's six years against UPA's six months.

"Hurriyat has stopped talking to New Delhi but is making huge foray talking to anyone who comes to India. Foreign secretary of Pakistan was called on by the Hurriyat. Would India's foreign secretary go to Pakistan and talk to (secessionist) groups there?" he asked.

He said the UPA government's decision to talk with the Naxal groups in Andhra Pradesh was skewed. "Talks began even as the naxals refused to put down arms. Naxal problem is spread in 156 districts in 13 states, so why was no other state consulted?"

Quoting the task force report, Arun Shourie said: "In the last 20 years, 64,000 people were killed in terrorist related violence. And all within Indian territory."

"Most lethal is the left-wing extremism," Shourie added.

Referring to an IB report he said since October 2003, there has been an additional sway in the naxal violence "at two districts per day". Since 1989, 13,000 civilians and 5,500 security personnel were killed in Left- wing violence.

He said the compact revolutionary zone (from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh) was very much a reality. "Nepal shows the danger in which we are," Shourie warned.

He said senior officials from the government confirmed to him that weapons to support this violence were not coming in from China as it is made out to be. "The mass of these weapons are coming from India and Indian groups... Madarsas have come up in the border areas where there used to be no Muslims," Shourie said.

This evoked protest from Congress MP Rashid Alvi. "Give me addresses of five madarasas in this area. For last many years, I have been asking LK Advani but he has no answer," he said.

But the day ended on a rather cordial note, with BJP MP Jaswant Singh claiming that almost 95 recommendations of the task force were implemented by the NDA government and home minister Shivraj Patil promising to consider the pending recommendations.
 


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