“Bijapur encounter was not a planned encounter. Such issues should not be politicised,” Singh told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.
He said that Maoists were using innocent villagers as shields to protect themselves from security forces.
A controversy has erupted over the killing of 19 people in an anti-Maoist operation by security forces in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh during the night intervening June 27 and 28. The joint operation by over 300 CRPF and state police personnel has left questions whether all the victims were Naxals.
To a question over concerns related to safety of Rowghat mines in Chhattisgarh, he said, “It is unfortunate that matters of national developments are being opposed by Maoists.
“The state government is working towards development of backward regions. But Naxalites are opposing our efforts. They are trying to reverse the process of development.”
The Home Ministry had yesterday decided to provide paramilitary forces for security of Steel Authority of India’s ambitious Rowghat mining project and for construction of a 235-km-long railway line to transport ore slurry through the Naxal-hit area.
The Prime Minister this morning met over 150 tribal students from Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh who have been brought here by the chief minister. They all have cleared entrance examinations for getting into engineering institutes.
The students had yesterday met President Pratibha Patil.