Wednesday, May 19, 2010

p chidambaram shifts stand due to congress pressure on maoists says BJP

BJP blasts Union Home Minister

  Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Bharatiya Janata Party has consistently maintained that the need of the hour is to have a multi-pronged approach to tackle the problem of Left Wing extremism.   The Party had made a comment yesterday that internal contradictions of the UPA which  are weakening this battle against Maoism.  The Home Minister has now made  a statement that it is primarily the responsibility of the States to tackle Naxalism.  The Centre’s job is to provide all types of assistance to the State Governments.
Has the Home Minister changed his stand 
    On 17th May, 2010 the Home Minister gave an interview to a private channel NDTV 24/7.  In the interview he made the following comments: - 
P.Chidambaram – It was always a two pronged policy but I concede that some discussion in the recent weeks may have weakened one of the two pronge.
Barkha Dutt  -- The security pronge ? 
P.Chidambaram – Well, yes …………………
Barkha Dutt --   Lets talk about specifics , for example, air support. i am not saying air power.  ………
P.Chidambaram  -  I can only implement the mandate given to me.  Now I  believe that the collective wisdom is better than the individual judgement.  
Barkha Dutt – but you want air support with air operations.  
P.Chidambaram – The security forces and the Chief Ministers want air support.  Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh and Orissa  have all asked for air support.  They are men on the ground. 
Barkha Dutt : Why can’t you convince your Government ? 
P.Chidambaram--  I will try.
P.Chidambaram --  That I argued before the CCS and I got a limited mandate.  I have no quarrel.  As I have said before, the collective wisdom of the Cabinet Committee is better than an individual judgement.  And I am implementing  the Cabinet Committee mandate.  ….  
Barkha Dutt   --  Are you unhappy with the limited nature of the mandate ? 
P.Chidambaram – Well,  I took to the Cabinet Committee a case for a larger mandate.  I was given a limited mandate.   ………………………..   
    Throughout the interview there was no question or discussion with regard to the fact that whether it is the primary responsibility of he Centre or the States to tackle Left Wing extremism.  When these internal contradictions were highlighted by the BJP, the Home Minister on 18th May, 2010 made a statement stating --  
“As far as the mandate of the Government in tackling naxalism is concerned, what I meant was that the Centre is here to provide all types of assistance to the State Governments whether it is providing additional para-military forces or other logistical support but ultimately the State Governments have the primary responsibility to fight Naxalism.” 
    Obviously, on 17th May 2010 he Home Minister was clear that  a larger mandate in terms of air support is  required in order to have an effective battle against the Maoists.  Faced with the internal contradictions and lack of support within the government he now takes a safer position that the context of a ‘limited mandate’ only meant that the States must tackle Maoism and the Central government will only play a supportive role.  This itself is a seious issue.  The enthusiasm to lead the battle against Maoists now seems to have diluted.  
Has the Centre no Constitutional Responsibility in the matter of tackling Maoist issue? 
    The political line advocated by some Congress leaders appears to be that the Centre need not be very vocal or proactive in the battle against Maoism.  It is primarily the responsibility of the States.  Such statements have repeatedly been made by Congress leaders.  Till recently the Home Minister appeared to be proactive on this issue.  He is now hiding behind the logic of the responsibility to tackle Maoism primarily being the responsibility of the States  with Centre only playing a supportive role.  Maintenance of public order (which also includes law and order) and police functions are the responsibility of the State under our constitutional scheme.  The defence of India, protection of national sovereignty, deployment of para-military forces or armed forces are exclusively the responsibility of the Centre.    The extent to which  the proportions that Left Wing extremism have acquired  in recent years isfrightening.   It is an armed rebellion intended to overawe and overthrow a legally elected government.  It is intended to destroy India’s parliamentary democracy and the constitutional order that prevails in India.n  Private arms manufacturing  units have been set up.  Taxes are being  collected by the unauthorized.  Thousands of innocents have lost their lives.  Control over territories of the country is shifting from the civil administration to the Maoist.  Is it the Congress party’s policy that this is exclusively a law and order problem.  When does ‘law and order’ transgress into a threat to India’s integrity, sovereignty, defence of India and an attempt to overawe and overthrow a constitutional order and legally elected government.  Is it the Congress party’s opinion that none of these situations exist on the ground?  If each one of them does exist, in such an eventuality the Centre cannot abdicate its responsibility and hide behind Naxalism being a mere ‘law and order’ problem itself and a State subject  
    The Govrnment headed by late Shri Rajiv Gandhi had legislated TADA.  The legislative power of the Parliament was challenged on the ground that terrorism and  insurgency  are law and order and public order issues and therefore exclusively  within the domain of the States.  The then Congress governments headed byShri  Rajiv Gandhi and Shri  Narasimha Rao correctly took the position that a law and order problem can easily  transgress into the destabilization of the Nation and overthrowing of the government established by law.    These would constitute a threat to the defence, integrity and sovereignty of India.  This position was categorically accepted by the Supreme Court in Kartar Singh vs. State of Punjab 1994 (3) SCC 569 (relevant paras attached).  
    Tackling extremism of this kind is both a law and order problem as also an assault on the integrity, sovereignty, constitutional order and defence of India.  The Centre and the States must tackle this problem through a joint strategy.  The dilution of the original position by the Home Minister that the words ‘limited mandate’ mean that it is primarily the responsibility of the States and the Centre can only give logistical support is neither politically nor constitutionally correct. 

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