New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has spoken out strongly against intellectuals who "romanticise Maoists". While admitting there is need for focused development in the tribal areas, he said there is no possibility of a dialogue with Maoists as they don't believe in Indian democracy. "You can have a dialogue with people who want to have a dialogue. Maoists are not here for tribal welfare," Ramesh said.
While speaking exclusively to CNN-IBN's Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose, Ramesh said there is a need for effective and combined strategy to tackle Maoist menace. "There has to be tough security and police action in the state. Secondly, you need to have a deeper political mobilisation by mainstream parties. You also need to redress the injustices," he said.
A large group of heavily armed Naxals had targeted the Congress convoy during the Parivartan Yatra in Darba Ghati on Saturday afternoon and almost wiped out the state party leadership. Among those killed were state party chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Sulwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma, former Congress MLA Uday Mudliyar and two other people. The deceased included several other Congress leaders and security personnel accompanying the convoy.
"Clearly, there are forces, especially in southern Chhattisgarh, who do not want Congress to get strong in the state," the minister said. Earlier on Tuesday, Maoists said the act was a revenge for the "atrocities done by the Salwa Judum". In a statement, Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson for the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, CPI(Maoist), alleged that both ruling BJP and opposition Congress in the state are equally responsible for anti-people policies. "That is why senior functionaries of Congress were targetted," the statement said.