Address root causes of Naxalism: Sonia


In the midst of the debate over the right approach to deal with Naxalism, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said the 'root causes' of the problem need to be addressed while tackling it decisively.

"While we must address acts of terror decisively and forcefully, we have to address the root causes of Naxalism", she said in the "Letter to the Congresspersons" in the first remarks on the issue since a controversy had broken out over Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh's article flaying Home Minister P Chidambaram's handling of the problem.

"The rise of Naxalism is a reflection of the need for our development initiatives to reach the grassroots, especially in our most backward districts. This is why our government is putting in place more targeted development schemes for our most backward districts", Gandhi said in the latest issue of party journal "Congress Sandesh".

Noting that the country is facing "ėnormous challenge" from Naxalites, Gandhi recalled that CRPF lost 73 brave jawans in an attack in Chhattisgarh. "Our thoughts go out to the grieving families of these men who have lost their lives."

Singh had suggested in the article that Chidambaram was treating the Naxalite issue as a law and order problem which was wrong and called for a rethink of counter-Maoist strategy.

The party general secretary had sometime back regretted his remarks and had also met the Union Home Minister apparently to clear his stand.

When Singh's comments had triggered a controversy in the wake of April 6 Dantewada massacre, Congress distanced itself from them and said such views should be expressed in party fora only.

Asked about Gandhi's remarks, Singh said there was "no difference" between the approach of the party and the government in tackling the issue. He suggested he had penned the article at a time when there was talk of a "military strategy" to deal with Maoists.

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