Buddha meets Chidambaram, discusses Maoist violence

Buddha meets Chidambaram, discusses Maoist violence

Home Minister P Chidambaram

The meeting came days after the Cabinet Committee on Security approved a new plan under which coordinated action will be undertaken to prevent violence by the Left extremists in selected areas and development activities will be carried out of on a war-footing there.

Before approval, the new plan was discussed threadbare by the Centre and the affected states like Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Bhattacharjee, who is here to attend the CPI(M) Politburo meeting, had a 45-minute breakfast meeting with Chidambaram at the latter's residence.

Though there was no official word on the meeting, informed sources said Maoist violence in West Bengal was the prime focus of discussion. The ruling CPI(M) has been facing the brunt of Maoist attacks for over a year now, with almost 80 of its leaders and supporters being killed.

Last week, a prominent Maoist leader had said in Kolkata that they were ready to speak to West Bengal government but laid a series of conditions including release of its leaders and ceasefire and had ruled out laying down of arms.

"We are ready for a discussion but the government should first declare ceasefire (which will be) followed by us," Maoist leader Kishenji told PTI from an undisclosed location.

With Maoists striking at will, Chidambaram has warned them of action if they did not abjure violence. The Centre has already issued an appeal for talks with the CPI(Maoist) provided they lay down arms.

According to the new plan worked out by the Union Home Ministry, the anti-Maoist operations will be undertaken in states affected by Left-wing extremism and would be assisted by the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, a central force.

According to the Ministry, the Maoists have their influence in 20 states across the country. "Over 2,000 police station areas in 223 districts in these states are partially or substantially affected by the menace," Chidambaram had said recently.

The latest incidents of violence include beheading of a police inspector in Jharkhand and 17 policemen being gunned down by Maoists in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district.