M A I N   N E W S

If this is war, we will fight back, says PC
l No plan to use the Air Force for now l Cong wants Naxals ‘wiped out’
Tribune News Service & Agencies

New Delhi, April 7
A war has been thrust on the government, acknowledged Union Home Minister P Chidambaram at Jagdalpur on Wednesday and declared that if it becomes necessary, the government would re-visit the mandate on the use of Air Force in the offensive against the Naxalites. “ If this is war, we will fight back,” he declared.

The Prime Minister was more cautious and told the media at the Rashtrapati Bhavan that all options were reviewed from time to time but there was no proposal before the government to deploy either the Army or the Air Force at the moment. While Chidambaram placed emphasis on the need to “remain calm and hold nerves”, the Indian Air Force Chief spoke out against deployment of defence forces within the country.

The Army and the Air Force, said Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, are not equipped to carry out ‘limited’ lethal action, which is best left to the police and paramilitary forces.

Indications are, however, that after the initial shock over Tuesday’s bloodbath, the government is hardening its stand. Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told newsmen in New Delhi that the party wanted the government to do everything to “wipe out the Naxalites”. Socio-economic issues of the people, she suggested, could be tackled later.

The Union Home Ministry also announced a compensation of Rs 38 lakh for each of the policemen killed in the deadliest ambush by Naxalites in the last 43 years. Besides the monetary compensation, which includes shares from the state government and the CRPF, the government also announced a job to a family member on compassionate grounds and ‘liberalised’ pension.

Security agencies, meanwhile, have reported to the government that a tactical blunder cost the men their lives. The CRPF company is accused of ‘operational one-upmanship’ in making the foray into the forest without taking the state police into confidence. While there were intelligence inputs that 200 to 300 Naxalites had assembled in the vicinity, the men made the mistake of spending the night in a village, barely four kilometres from their base camp, before getting into the forest at daybreak.

The Home Minister, however, ruled out any lack of coordination between the CRPF and the Chattisgarh Police and claimed that the men had ventured into the forest to “understand and familiarise themselves with the terrain” and were not lured by wrong intelligence. He was quick to add though that only an inquiry would establish what went wrong.

During the day, special Air Force transport planes were used to send bodybags to different states. They were received with military honours in New Delhi, Lucknow, Patna and Jaipur and sent by road to other places.

A cautious Chidambaram, who flew down to Jagdalpur to pay homage to the dead and held consultations with officials at Raipur before returning to New Delhi, however, called upon people not to expect ‘instant success’. The offensive against Maoists, he reiterated, would take three to four years to show results.

Rs 38 lakh grant to kin of slain personnel

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday announced a one-time compensation of Rs 38 lakh each to families of CRPF men killed in Tuesday’s Naxal attack. Survivors will be given ‘liberalised pension’ equivalent to last-pay drawn. One member of each family will also be provided a job on compassionate grounds. — TNS 

What the Government Can Do

Anjani Kumar, IGP, Greyhounds, Andhra Pradesh l Prevent Naxalites from using forests as sanctuaries l Compile lists of persons missing from villages l Ensure rural roads, communication, power and infrastructure improve l  Ensure scientific intelligence collection l  Leave anti-Maoist operations to state police l  Support states with intelligence, technology, drones l (As told to Suresh Dharur) 

Anjani Kumar, IGP, Greyhounds, Andhra Pradesh





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