New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said left-wing extremists are the country’s biggest security challenge and are targeting all aspects of economic activity.
“I have said in the past that left-wing extremism is the single biggest security challenge to the Indian state,” Singh told state chief ministers on Thursday at a meeting on the internal security situation in the country. “It continues to be so and we cannot rest in peace till we have eliminated this virus.”
Left-wing Maoist guerrillas, locally known as Naxalites, are active in 11 of the country’s 28 states, which are rich in iron ore, coal, bauxite, manganese and other minerals, and have the potential to attract billions of dollars in investments.
The Naxalites, who have waged a campaign of violence against landowners and police for more than three decades, were responsible for killing 571 people and security personnel in the 10 months to 31 October, according to government statistics.
The meeting of the chief ministers comes after near simultaneous blasts on 23 November in three cities of Uttar Pradesh that killed at least 13 people.