Sunday, August 16, 2009

Govt in final preparation stages of offensive against Naxals

Agencies Posted online: Sunday , Aug 16, 2009 at 1225 hrs

New Delhi : The Government is in the final stages of preparation for the launch of its "surgical" offensive against the Naxals, for which specialised training will be imparted to BSF and ITBP personnel soon. "Specialised training for BSF and ITBP personnel will begin soon. The focus would be on surgical operations and better intelligence," sources in the home ministry said.

"The already trained men will have to undergo further training which includes topography familiarisation, besides, more gruelling on guerrilla warfare and courses on improvised explosive devices, which cause maximum casualty to the forces in Naxal areas," they said.

So far, CRPF is the only main Central force along with the police forces from the affected states fighting against the menace. While the BSF had dealt with Naxals long ago, it would be for the first time that ITBP personnel would be facing the Left-wing extremists.

The home ministry sources said five battalions (5,000 personnel) of the BSF and four battalions of the ITBP have been shortlisted for the new offensive against the Naxals, which they believe will be a long-drawn fight against Left-wing extremism.

However, the sources did not indicate the time for the launch of the offensive. Government has earmarked an additional 24 battalions of the central paramilitary forces which includes some from the CRPF. The additional CRPF battalions, the sources said, would be made available by tactical withdrawal of its personnel from areas other than those which are Naxal infested.

The Centre's offensive against the Naxals would not just be purely militarily but would also involve its civil arms to work for the welfare of the people, the sources said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address to the nation on the 63ed Independence Day, had said the Centre will "redouble its efforts to deal with Naxalite activities." "We will also do more to ensure better coordination among

states," he added. Slamming Maoist violence, Singh said, "Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the strength of our democracy."

On August 17, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting of chief ministers organised by the Union Home Ministry on internal security where Naxalism would be one of the primary issues. Later, a meeting is also scheduled between Home minister P Chidambaram and chief ministers of the seven most Naxal-infested states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra – to discuss the new strategy.

Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar had in June visited Jharkhand along with about 12 secretaries of various central ministries and held a series of meetings besides visiting a number of affected areas. Sources said as per the plan, there would be coordinated offensives against the Naxals which would be led by the newly

set up elite force CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action).

After the forces would push the Naxals back and reclaim the areas, other paramilitary force personnel will take over and various ministries will then initiate development work.

Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar had in June visited Jharkhand along with about 12 secretaries of various central ministries and held a series of meetings besides visiting a number of affected areas. Sources said as per the plan, there would be coordinated offensives against the Naxals which would be led by the newly set up elite force CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action).

After the forces would push the Naxals back and reclaim the areas, other paramilitary force personnel will take over and various ministries will then initiate development work.

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