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State seeks help in Maoist areas

Reports say development groups being sought to assist in federal projects

State seeks help in Maoist areas
Caritas staff at an exhibition (photo: Caritas India)
Rita Joseph, New Delhi

January 16, 2012

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The government is reportedly seeking help from missionary groups, including the Church, in conducting development work in areas plagued by Maoist insurgencies. “We have asked Caritas, which is already involved in development activities to spearhead  the work in Maoist-controlled areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa states,” press reports quoted Federal Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh as saying in a letter he wrote to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. Ramesh said Caritas was a social organization and should not be seen as a religious entity. The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, a Hindu group, has been approached to conduct similar work in Chhattisgarh’s Narainpur district. Fr Varghese Mattamana, Caritas’ executive director, said he will meet the minister next week and discuss development programs in the three states where they are already working. Education, health and social development have been the core areas of concern, he said. “We have already helped the government implement many of its schemes,” he added. Swami Vyaptananda, secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission’s Narianpur branch said his group is also doing work in the remote areas of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, Kanker and Bijapur districts. Regarding talk of the government seeking their assistance, the swami said: “We have only read the press reports in this regard. The government has not approached us yet.”   Related links: Keeping youths from Maoist clutches  
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