Security forces operating in insurgency-hit areas of the country should be more transparent and accountable, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said today.
“I am not the one who romanticises the insurgents and demonises the security establishment. I think, what you need is accountability and transparency. Whoever is the state — whether it is forest administration, whether it is police administration or whether it is security — you have to be accountable,” he said.
The Rural Development Minister was addressing a national seminar on ‘Insurgency and Development’ organised at Jamia Milia Islamia University here.
He said security is a must to initiate development works in insurgency-hit areas.
“My own experience is that whenever I have been able to start meaningful development activities, it has only been after some security operations have been carried out in an effective and sensitive manner. Without that, it is absolutely impossible,” he said.
“You need some basic degree of security success before the political process and the developmental process gets resumed,” Ramesh, who is a frequent visitor to Maoist-affected areas to oversee the developmental works initiated by his Ministry, said. He said tribals were the only one community in the country who were subjected to exploitation in last 60 years.
“In the last 60 years, all communities have prospered. But the one community that has bore the brunt of the costs of economic growth, it has been the tribals,” he said, citing instances in which tribals were subjected to forced displacements for developmental works.
He said the problem of Maoism was direct a consequence of the fact that tribals have not benefited as much from economic growth as all others have.
“I think this is something that we have to really be sensitive to…I think to my mind, this is the biggest developmental challenge we face,” he said.
The Minister also appealed to the civil society and academia not to “demonise” the security establishment and “romanticise” insurgency.