Army against Naxals? CCS to decide today

The anti-Naxal strategy is expected to top the agenda of the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting.

New Delhi: The anti-Naxal strategy, including the possibility of involving armed forces, is expected to top the agenda of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting in New Delhi Thursday.

The meeting, to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is expected to debate the pros and cons of using the Army and Air Force in the fight against the Maoists, official sources said.

At the meeting, Home Minister P Chidambaram is expected to make a presentation on the situation arising out of surge in Naxal attacks and suggest ways in which the menace could be dealt with effectively, the sources said.

There have been demands for involving armed forces in the fight against Naxals but the government is cautiously weighing all options before taking any decision on this.

The Defence Ministry is reluctant to use the armed forces for direct combat. However, it is not averse to limited involvement like training of paramilitary personnel and using IAF for transportation, medical evacuation, logistics support and other aid.

Government has been weighing the option of using armed forces against Naxals as 172 civilians and 29 security personnel have been killed by them during the month of May. This included the recent derailment of a passenger train in West Midnapore caused by suspected Maoists, killing 148 passengers.

In April this year, Maoists ambushed and massacred 75 CRPF personnel and one Chattisgarh policeman in the Dantewada forest of Chattisgarh. Chidambaram had recently said he had a "limited mandate" to fight Naxals and was looking for a larger mandate, which would be discussed at the CCS.


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