Sunday, August 19, 2007

Methods used by police can be debated

Karnataka Home Minister MP Prakash spoke to M. Radhika on the Naxal issue

Why did the government release the list of suspected naxalites at this point?
I do not know why. A senior police official brought it out. Since the names of some people involved in progressive movements were included, we scrutinised the list and withdrew it.

BJP mlas supported the encounter in which five people were killed.
Even the lives of those legislators are under threat in that region (Malnad). They only reacted to questions raised in the Assembly.

Human rights activists question the killing of Paramesh. Why didn’t the police arrest him at a protest in Chikmagalur?
I do not know about the Chikmagalur incident. But Paramesh is said to have been involved in Naxal activities. And the couple harboured the Naxalites, either under duress or otherwise.

Tribals in Kudremukh live in fear of eviction. Even activists like Vittal Hegde have complained of police harassment.
Methods used by the police can always be debated. This part of the Western Ghats is backward. Earlier, the Chiranjeevi Singh committee suggested many rehabilitation measures. We assured the tribals they could either live within the national park limits or be provided rehabilitation measures. Now, a Central policy has come into force about not evicting tribals from national parks. They will not be evicted.

It’s alleged that some surveillance methods of police are arbitrary.
There are no arbitrary measures. The same surveillance measures are even used in airports where passengers are frisked. They don’t protest. Why can’t the tribals abide by them? I agree police need not be on an overdrive.

Is the government ready for peace talks with the Naxals?
We are willing to talk to them if they leave the path of violence and give up arms. We made several attempts in the past and gave them so many opportunities.


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