Tuesday, June 16, 2009

States demand 25,000 central force personnel to tackle Naxals

New Delhi (PTI): Naxal-infested states have asked the Centre to provide nearly 25,000 additional para-military troops and helicopters to counter left-wing extremism.

Home Ministry sources said Jharkhand, where 19 of the 24 districts are affected by the menace, has asked for additional 12,000 personnel over and above the 6,000 personnel already stationed in the state.

Similarly, Chhattisgarh has demanded about 8,000 more para-military personnel while its showing keenness for a co-ordinated multi-state strategy to take on Naxals, sources said.

Orissa too has demanded about 5,000 additional personnel of central forces and is also looking at the possibility of raising its own anti-Naxal force on the patterns of Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh.

All left-wing extremism hit states have also asked for at least one if not more helicopters to help in movement of forces and early evacuation in case of an emergency.

The demands came after the Home Ministry asked the states to come up with a Plan of Action for launching a new counter offensive measure.

Sources said the CRPF, which has already stretched its deployment to the maximum to meet demands in Naxal states, Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, has shown its inability to spare more personnel.

To meet the demands of the states, the Home Ministry has approached other central forces to see if they could provide some personnel to augment the ground strength in Naxal-hit states.

Of all the paramilitary forces, BSF and ITBP have responded positively and now the Home Ministry is trying to work out the details of forming a joint command and launching a specialised training course.

Recently, top functionaries from Maharashtra and four other Naxal-affected states came together to plan a joint strategy for countering the menace.

The meeting, convened by Maharashtra state Home Minister Jayant Patil, saw the participation of representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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