Thursday, February 04, 2010

Now, IAF to flush out Maoists from state

Manohar Lal, TNN, 4 February 2010, 10:17pm IST

RANCHI: Indian Air Force (IAF) will be used for the first time, albeit indirectly, in a major anti-Maoist offensive that is to be launched in the

state soon. Jharkhand Police is gearing up to deploy the IAF contingent for the purpose.

These facts came to light after a high-level meeting of senior police officers of the state chaired by Vijay Raman, special director-general of CRPF and nodal officer for Operation Green Hunt. He discussed various arrangements done by the state police for the deployment of IAF in the state. Among those present at the meeting were IG (operations) D K Pandey, IG (special branch) S N Pradhan and CRPF DIG Alok Raj.

"Raman wanted to know whether police could accommodate the IAF contingent if deployed in the state for anti-Naxalite operations to which, we have replied in the affirmative," said DGP Neyaz Ahmed.

He, however, clarified that IAF will not take be directly involved in the operation against the Maoists but form part of the back-up team. "Some dedicated special control rooms and other infrastructure will soon be set up for the anti-Maoist operation in the state," said Ahmed.

The DGP added that the final decision on the major anti-Maoist offensive will be taken at the crucial meeting of chief ministers of some Maoist-affected states to be chaired by Union home minister P Chidambaram in Kolkata on February 9. "A meeting with the directors-general of police of other states will also be held on the sidelines of the CMs meeting in which these issues will be discussed," said Ahmed.

According to sources, two IAF pilots have already arrived in the state and are actively taking part in the recce. A total of 11 points have been shortlisted where the major operations have been planned to be launched in the state once the Kolkata meeting gives the green signal.

More paramilitary forces are likely to come to the state for the anti-Maoist operation. Later in the day, Raman left for Delhi. He will also be there for the high-level meeting in Kolkata next week.

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