"The naxals have become the greatest hurdle in the way of development of Gadchiroli. We don't believe in bullet. The government is committed to exploitation-free development of the district. Let the naxalites come forward one step in this process and we will take two steps," Patil told mediapersons here last evening.
Patil, who is also the Guardian minister of the district, was in the city to attend an Independence Day programme and visit the flood-affected areas.
The minister said he firmly believes that naxal menace is not a law and order problem but a socio-economic one. It is because of this belief, the police are engaged in development activities also besides their routine job of maintaining law and order.
When asked about the Medhri encounter controversy in which six women naxals were killed, even though the outlaws were ready to surrender, Patil said the police personnel have to take a decision seeing the ground situation.
"What is the guarantee that some naxals raise their hands for surrender and the others fire upon the police? Should the police be allowed to die in such a situation?" he asked while defending the police action against women naxals.
The truth will come out after a magisterial inquiry into the matter, he said. On the insufficient financial assistance to flood affected people of Vidarbha, Patil said he will take up the issue with the state Chief Minister.
Reacting to the demand of senior NCP leader Dharmarao Baba Atram to include Gadhiroli and Chandrapur districts in Telangana, the Home minister said it is his personal view and not that of the party.
"However, our party will honour the sentiments of the people of Vidarbha regarding their demand of a separate state for the region," he said.
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