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Chidambaram resignation: PM rejects Chidambaram resignation offer

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "fully backs" Home Minister P. Chidambaram and had rejected his offer of resignation following the Maoist massacre of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh, government sources said.

"PM has declined to accept the home minister's offer for resignation. The PM fully backs his senior cabinet colleague," a top official told IANS.

The home minister had written to the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepting blame for Tuesday's attack that led to the killing of 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and a Chhattisgarh policeman in a Bastar forest, the worst Maoist assault since the insurgency began more than four decades ago, an official privy to the letter added.

He said there was "no question" of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi accepting the resignation offer as Chidambaram, who took over as home minister after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, has largely been hailed for his role in handling internal security management.

According to sources, Chidambaram wrote the letters Wednesday soon after returning from Chhatisgarh.

Chidambaram had set the ball rolling earlier in the day when he said at a CRPF function that he accepted "full responsibility" for the massacre and that the "buck stops at my desk".

"I have been asked directly or indirectly where the buck stops after the attack. The buck stops at my desk," Chidambaram said at a function to mark Valour Day for the CRPF.

"I accept full responsibility for what happened in Dantewada. I called the prime minister and gave in writing that I accept full responsibility for what happened," he said, adding: "Let me not elaborate."

Referring to the many reports on how the men were poorly trained, Chidambaram went guns blazing defending the security personnel.

"It has been written that the 62nd battalion was poorly trained or lacked adequate weapons and equipment which is not true," Chidambaram said.

"I ask everyone humbly that if you can't go on the front, please don't disrespect our jawans."

"We have addressed issues pertaining to salaries, allowances, pensions, compensations and rehabilitation. More needs to be done, and they will be done," said the minister.

The families of the slain personnel would be given full compensation before the end of this month, Chidambaram said. The government had announced a compensation of Rs.38 lakh for the next of kin of each slain security personnel, with the central government contributing Rs.15 lakh to the kitty

He also offered a job for a family member of each of the slain personnel.

"I am proud of the CRPF and its work. I salute all those who laid down their lives. The families who lost their member in the Dantewada attack will be compensated by the end of this month," the minister assured.

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