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In Chhattisgarh's Naxal Heartland, Narendra Modi Urges People to Shun the Gun

After paying tributes to Dr. BR Ambedkar, whose anniversary it was on Saturday, PM Modi said, "Babasaheb's Constitution has taken care of your rights and it is the government's duty to take care of that. You don't need to pick up the gun."

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com

Updated:April 14, 2018, 7:15 PM IST
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In Chhattisgarh's Naxal Heartland, Narendra Modi Urges People to Shun the Gun
Narendra Modi in Chhattisgarh. (Twitter Photo)
Bijapur: Villagers from in and around Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh defied Naxals to attend the launch of the Ayushman Bharat scheme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday in Naxal-affected Bijapur's Jangla village.

During his hour-long address, Modi said the people of Bastar region had no reason to pick up a gun.

After paying tributes to Dr. BR Ambedkar, whose anniversary it was on Saturday, Modi said, "Babasaheb's Constitution has taken care of your rights and it is the government's duty to take care of that. You don't need to pick up the gun."

He then urged parents of children, who had joined Naxalism, do dissuade their children from the path of violence.

"I want to speak to the parents of children who are misguided. Think about who the leaders are. They are not from your region. They are from outside. They don't die. They let your children die," he said.

The region was tense ahead of Modi's visit since on April 9, two District Reserve Guards (DRG) Jawans were killed in a Maoist attack in the district. Naxals had targeted a bus ferrying nearly 30 jawans with an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur, leaving two of them dead and five injured. While the district administration and the local BJP unit tried its best to get people to Bijapur's Jangla Development Hub, where Modi addressed his rally, the threat of Naxal violence kept several people indoors.

A resident of Bhopalpatnam village near Bijapur said, "We could only come because local BJP workers had sent cars. Naxals didn't want us to get to the rally. Despite the administration's plea, most villagers stayed back. Some cars came back empty."

A Bijapur resident said, "People were brought here a day before the rally. We stayed in tents through the night. The administration told us it was because they didn't want to take any chances."

Modi said the government was committed to ensuring that Naxal-affected regions of Chhattisgarh.

"Bastar will be connected to Raipur via rail. We are also building a steel plant here, which will generate employment. We are building an airport in Jagdalpur, which will give flight to the economy of Bastar," he said.

Bijapur was part of Dantewada district till 2007. Since its inception 11 years ago, Bijapur will host a Prime Minister for the first time ever.

After Monday's Maoist attack, the security apparatus has been on edge. Several rounds of sanitation operations have been carried out within a 10 km radius of the PM's venue.

This was Modi's fourth visit to Chhattisgarh and the second to Bastar division. The last Prime Minister to visit the area was Indira Gandhi in 1975, when the entire region was part of undivided Bastar district.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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