Govt convenes meet to frame SOPs to avoid civilian casualty

Top officials of Centre and Naxal-hit states will take stock of ongoing offensives against Naxals and chalk out strategy to avoid collatoral damage.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the row over recent killing of 19 people in anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh, top officials of the Centre and nine Naxal-hit states will take stock of the ongoing offensives against the extremists and chalk out strategy to avoid collatoral damage.

The meeting, to be chaired by Special Secretary (Internal Secretary) in the Home Ministry Ajay Chadha, will review the anti-Naxal operations in the nine states and is expected to formulate Standard Operating Procedures for actions against Naxals if civilians are spotted in between.

"The main emphasis of the SOPs will be how to check Maoists` tactic of using human shield and minimise collatoral damage in action," an official said.

The Home Ministry officials are likely to advise state government officials to post only senior and experienced police officers as SHOs in police stations and provide enough arms and ammunition in police stations located in Maoist affected states.
There have been reports that in at least three police stations in the worst-hit Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, SHOs are in the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector instead of Inspector or Sub Inspector.

Besides, there are reports that several police stations in Odisha`s Noapara district do not have enough arms and ammunition.

The meeting will also review the status of the Security Related Expenditure schemes, police vacancy position of the states and their steps to recruit fresh personnel besides others.