NEW DELHI, India – The government is launching new development schemes in areas plagued by Naxal violence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday (August 15th) in a speech marking India's 66th Independence Day.
"We have initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by Naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people residing there, especially our brothers and sisters belonging to Scheduled Tribes [indigenous peoples who were given special constitutional recognition], can be removed and their lot can be improved," Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted him as saying.
"We have achieved success in many areas of internal security. In Jammu and Kashmir, people participated in large numbers in the Panchayat elections," Singh said.
"However, we need to be constantly vigilant as far as internal security is concerned. Communal harmony has to be maintained at all costs. Naxalism is still a serious problem," he said, pointing to a series of low-intensity blasts that hit Pune on August 1st, injuring one.
The Maoist insurgency has gripped nearly one-third of India, spreading into the interiors of 20 states, according to Asian News International (ANI). Naxal violence has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and security personnel in the last five years, it said.