|Narayanan at the CII event on Friday. (Bishwarup Dutta)|
Calcutta, Jan. 21: Governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the state’s universities, today said Maoism was becoming “fashionable” in varsities and added that a “section of the civil society was feeling encouraged and taking part in protests”.
Citing instances of protests by sections of the civil society following the arrest of rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for being a Maoist conduit, Narayanan said on the sidelines of a CII seminar: “The Maoists are gaining the upper hand in the people’s mind. A section of the civil society is feeling encouraged and taking part in protests. Maoism is becoming fashionable in universities across several states, including Bengal.”
The governor said the “support of well-meaning citizens” was required to “ensure that matters don’t get out of hand”.
Sources said the governor cared about the “wellbeing of the student community” because he was the chancellor of the state’s varsities. They said Narayanan was “concerned” over the “intrusion of Maoist ideologies into educational institutions”.
The sources said that as a former intelligence chief, Narayanan might have received “inputs” from the state’s intelligence branch that Maoists were “eyeing intelligent students to garner support for their cause”.
A senior police officer said “a section of such silent sympathisers” had been spotted in Nandigram, Singur and Lalgarh, places that have witnessed Maoist activities.
Narayanan said it was “imperative” to realise that the Maoist menace could not be tackled merely by increasing the number of security forces or by “mere words… or schemes”.
“The past two years were probably the worst in the history of Naxalite violence,” he said, adding “reality is different from seminar papers”.
Speaking on the issue of internal security, the governor said terrorism could not be tackled by setting up more NSG hubs — an idea mooted by Union home minister P. Chidambaram — but “through good, actionable intelligence backed by painstaking police work”.
Narayanan also expressed his disappointment over the Netai killings, admitting that the ongoing political clashes were a threat to the state’s “internal security”.
“The Netai incident is very unfortunate and I feel it shouldn’t have happened and should not happen (again),” the governor said.