Monday, April 12, 2010

Govt prepares new plan to crush Maoists

New Delhi: The Central Government is reviewing the security apparatus in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal following the deadliest Maoist attack on security forces in Dantewada on April 6 in which 75 Central Reserve Police Force and one local police official were killed.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that security forces will be redeployed in Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Midnapore in West Bengal to tackle the Maoists.

Special commandos will now be in charge of tackling armed Maoists in these areas.
The Government will also sanction and send more CRPF personnel to the Maoist-affected areas.

There have also been demands for calling in the Army and Air Force to crush the Maoists. But both the Army Chief General VK Singh and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik have declared that the military has been trained to fight the enemy from across the border and not launch offensive operations against the citizens of the country.

On Monday too Air Chief Marshal Naik said that any use of Indian Air Force to fight Maoists must avoid collateral damage.

"We have the capability to conduct strikes with utmost precision. If at all a situation arises where the use of Air Force becomes inevitable, there has to be clarity on the magnitude of the force we are supposed to use. After all, we are dealing with our own people in our own territory. So far we have not been approached by the Home Ministry for any type of help in combating Naxalites," said the Air Chief Marshal at Bamrauli Air Force station near Allahabad.

He pointed out that the IAF had already deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to track Maoists a couple of years.

"We had deployed UAVs in the tribal areas of the states a couple of years ago and provided inputs at that time. The Air Force is not conducting any reconnaissance in the region at present," he said.

"It also needs to be understood that the reconnaissance by our UAVs will have some limitations. UAVs can give information about a number of people gathering at a spot but it cannot tell you whether it is a group of armed insurgents or ordinary tribals and villagers. Aerial survey may not be possible in dense jungles as the devices cannot see through a canopy of trees, bushes and shrubs," he added.

The Prime Minister has already described Maoists as the gravest threat to India. Chidambaram even offered his resignation claiming responsibility for the Dantewada massacre. However, his offer to resign was not accepted by the Prime Minister.
Chidambaram, who has been advocating a tough line against the Maoists, has also got the support of major political parties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying there is no need for him to resign over the Dantewada massacre.

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