Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Centre keeps choppers ready to counter naxal violence

New Delhi (PTI): Alarmed at the sudden spurt in Naxal attacks during the Lok Sabha elections, the Centre has kept helicopters ready for States hit by violence to meet any eventuality while promising better logistical support to security forces.

Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta chaired a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation after a spate of naxal attacks in Bihar and Jharkhand, including hijacking of a passenger train which was eventually released, ahead of the second phase of elections on Thursday.

"Appropriate security arrangements have been made and the priority is to ensure that the polls are held smoothly and efforts to disrupt the democratic process do not succeed," Mr. Gupta told PTI after the review meeting.

To give better logistical support to the security forces, helicopters have been provided to the Naxal-hit states for carrying out aerial surveillance and launching measures to counter the Maoists promptly, the Home Secretary said.

Instructions were issued to paramilitary forces and state government to step up vigil and ensure that people exercise their franchise fearlessly ignoring the poll boycott call given by the Naxals.

Mr. Gupta pointed out that Naxals had tried to derail the first phase of the polling by unleashing violence but people came out in large number and cast their vote.

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