New Delhi: Terming Left-wing extremism as the "most violent movement" in India, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said the burden of governance in the Naxal-hit districts must rest with the states.

READ MORE: PM for integrated development in Maoist areas

"The burden of governance cannot be shifted from the state governments to the central government....In the ultimate analysis, the responsibility of governance in the Left-wing extremism affected districts must rest with the states," he told a national workshop attended by collectors of 60-Maoist hit districts here.

The Central government "does not have that much human resources" and can only provide help, he said.

He said the battle in the affected districts was not for maintaining law and order but winning the "minds and hearts" of the people there.

Noting that the fight against Naxalism cannot be won unless villagers are on the side of the authorities, the Home Minister said, "The villagers are not yet on our side or at least not all villagers are on our side because of trust deficit, governance deficit and development deficit".

He said the responsibility for winning hearts and minds of villagers and winning them on "our side" must remain and will always remain the responsibility of state government.

"We will help in every way but ultimately the state government must take ownership for what they do in the Naxal-hit districts," Chidambaram said.

Workshop was based on the theme of appropriate development strategy for effectiv implementation of rural development schemes in Maoist-affected districts under Integrated Action Plan (IAP).

The Home Minister said deficits in governance and development cannot be addressed unless trust deficit is addressed.

"If villagers think that Naxals are their friends and the established government is their adversary, you cannot win the battle," Chidambaram said.

He said Left wing extremism has killed ten times more people this year than those killed in terrorist violence in the country.

"The most violent movement in India is not terrorism or insurgency but Left-wing extremism. While 26 people were killed in terrorist violence and 46 killed in insurgency (27
in Jammu and Kashmir), 297 persons were killed in Naxal violence. That is ten times of those killed in terror incidents" he said.

"The most formidable challenge to governance is Left wing extremism not terrorism or insurgency," he said, adding there is a need to realise its nature and have clarity on the
purpose of this movement before any gains could be made in fighting it.

"Unlike any other movement, this movement is driven by a very fearsome and brutal idea. The goal of Left wing extremism is not to bring about development but to overthrow
Parliamentary democracy....their goal, their methods are directly in confrontation with the goal of the elected governments.

Addressing the meet, Minister for Road and Highways CP Joshi insisted there is a deficit in trust, governance and development in tribal areas and said a police officer is still a very feared person in a tribal village.

Chidambaram said the Central government has plans to raise specialised forces which will have both security and engineering components. The latter can take care of the development needs in the LWE-affected areas.

"But raising this force will take time. So in immediate future, the responsibility must rest with state governments and we must optimise what help we can give," he said.

The Home Minister said Centre will list 20 more districts under the Integrated Action Plan, which already covers 60 districts. The plan aims at taking care of their special development needs.

The workshop saw Collectors from various states seeking greater central assistance in implementing the development schemes in the state, which prompted Chidambaram to remark "what you are saying is that the responsibility of governance should shift from states to the Centre."

Noting that the Centre does not have unlimited number of security personnel, Chidambaram said it has already provided 71 battalions of central paramilitary forces to the states which means 45 thousand of them are for fighting.

"Will another 45 thousand men will solve the Naxal problem?", Chidambaram wondered responding to demands for more security forces, mainly CRPF from the Naxal-hit districts.

Chidambaram said that the answer is not to say provide more forces but to find out the areas in which the Central forces can play the most important role, while states play their primary role of maintaining law and order.

Emphasising the need to bond with villagers in the LWE areas, Chidambaram said that Chief Ministers and ministers in the state should visit such villages and communicate with them, which he said is not happening very frequently.

He said the state should allocate more money to such districts. "It will not cost too much if states take ownership of these districts," he said.

Chidambaram abdicating his duties: BJP

BJP on Tuesday joined issue with Home Minister P Chidambaram over his comments that fighting terrorism was more a state responsibility, saying he was abdicating his duties as the menace was spread over ten states and a coordinated effort was required to combat it.

"As long as Chidambaram is on the scene, we will keep hearing of new terminologies everyday. So far no arrest has been made in the Delhi blast case, so how can one even talk of punishing the guilty," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

The Home Minister had earlier stated at a programme in the capital that fighting terrorism was primarily the responsibility of the states. He maintained that Left wing extremism was more a matter of concern than any other form of terror activity.

BJP was, however, not convinced with Chidambaram's arguments and maintained that since terrorism was prevalent in more than one state and had inter-state ramifications, the Centre should be held accountable for dealing with it.

"I want to tell Chidambaram that this is not about responsibility of any one state. There is terrorism in several states. Why is not a unified strategy? More than ten states are involved. He is just advising the Chief Ministers and abdicating his responsibility," Javadekar said.

The Rajya Sabha MP described terrorism as a "war against the state". In reply to a question on Jammu and Kashmir Assembly mulling over passing a resolution against the death sentence to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Javadekar said terrorism cannot be condoned in one state and punished in another.

"Terrorism is terrorism. Whether it is state A or state B, one cannot differentiate between states or on the basis of religion, region, caste and the like," he said.

(Agencies)