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Anti-naxal operations to get more teeth April 13, 2007

Posted by naxalwatch in Uncategorized.
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Rajesh Sinha
Thursday, April 12, 2007 23:55 IST

NEW DELHI: Rather than wait for Maoists to attack before going after them, security forces are to take a more active role in engaging the naxals. Switching from a reactive and defensive approach to an offensive one is among the priority issues to be taken up at the meeting on naxal menace in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Support is growing in security establishments for a pro-active strategy to deal with the Maoist menace, similar to Andhra Pradesh where the specially constituted Greyhounds have destroyed several naxal bases and curbed the insurgents to a large extent. Naxal operations have increased over the last few years in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

The forces currently deployed for anti-naxal operations are mostly used for static security duties, counter-offensives after naxal attacks and routine patrolling. The offensive initiative has traditionally rested with the naxalites, who hit their desired targets and draw first blood. On several occasions, the biggest being the recent incident at Rano Bodli in Chhattisgarh, security forces themselves have become victims of such attacks.

One hindering factor is the lack of intelligence available to security forces. According to an officer, the Maoists appear to have a better network and sometime ago they threw an open challenge to the intelligence agencies to try and figure out where the next attack was going to occur.

Another glaring shortcoming that has persisted is total lack of inter-state coordination for anti-naxal operations, despite its importance being acknowledged at every meeting. “State governments are reluctant to allow forces from other states to come and operate in their territory,” an officer pointed out.

While Friday’s meeting will focus on security related aspects, the inter-ministerial meeting, slated for April 16 in Patna, would take up the development aspect. Among the significant issues to be dealt with at this meeting include addressing concerns in setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and big development projects such as irrigation schemes, with the security becoming an inherent part of such projects. This will be followed by a meeting of the coordination centre on April 24.

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