You can’t shoot downs Naxals, govt tells IAF
Posted by Admin on October 3, 2009
NEW DELHI: The centre has rejected a proposal for allowing Indian Air Force personnel to fire at Left-wing extremists. Sources said that the
government was clear on its policy to restrict the role of IAF in anti-Naxal operations to evacuation, rescue and airlifting of the civilian security forces.
MHA was against engaging either the Army or IAF in the fight against Naxalites as it felt that this may only alienate the tribals further. Besides, the civilian forces are seen to be handling the human issues relating to Left-wing extremism with more tact, as compared to the military which is trained to take on the ‘enemy’ with full force and might.
Even though the home ministry had earlier considered engaging Rashtriya Rifles in the counter-Naxal operations, the option was ruled out after the view emerged that the Maoists are best handled by civilians forces like CRPF and BSF, who are at the state’s disposal and work jointly with the police, even as the Army must concentrate on the borders.
The option of engaging the armed forces in the fight against Naxalites, including the big offensive coming up in November, was also shot down by the affected states.
Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh had opposed the proposal for armed forces’ involvement in countering extremism saying that it could lead to human rights issues as the Army personnel are trained to take on the ‘enemy’ with full force as in a battle.
Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik had on Thursday said that the Air Force has sought permission to open fire in self-defence after one of the air warriors was killed by Maoists. He expressed worries about collateral damage.
However, defence minister A K Antony had said the government was yet to take a decision on it. Meanwhile, CPI on Friday opposed any use of the Army or Air Force in anti-Naxal operations saying it would have repercussions.
Alleging that the government had ‘almost inducted’ the Army to fight Maoists, party general secretary A B Bardhan said there was information that CRPF’s logistics were being monitored by the Army.
“The Army should not be used to fight a war against our own people. The Indian Air Force is also being mobilised,” he said addressing a press conference after a meeting here of his party’s national executive.
Though the government has ruled out using the armed forces directly in operations against Naxals, CPI leader said the Army was already calling the shots.
“In the name of fighting Left extremism, which the prime minister has called the greatest threat to India, they have almost inducted the Army to fight Naxalites. This is unprecedented. The police should do the job,” Mr Bardhan said.
Asked if this would be his position if Army was sent into Lalgarh, he shot back “yes, I will oppose Army being used anywhere.” Mr Bardhan said that four or five districts in Bastar were surrounded by paramilitary forces. He also alleged that the operations were directed at anyone shouting “lal salaam”, which was also a Left slogan.
“Its a war of extermination against those who hold the red banner,” he said. ET
Answer to air power: ‘Leader’
Oct. 2: The Maoists are daring the government to come at them even with air power and have cited the killings in Bihar as an example of the tactic they will adopt to break an encirclement by security forces.
A person claiming to be Maoist politburo member Kishan phoned The Telegraph this evening and said the Indian Air Force chief’s request to the government for permission to use firepower “is an excuse to bomb vast areas where the security forces have not been able to march in but we will break out of our traditional areas and enter new areas — as in Khagaria — to encircle the government troops”.
The air force chief had spoken of seeking permission to shoot at Maoists yesterday. It raises the question whether the Maoists could have planned the Khagaria operation in such a short time, or whether Kishan was citing it just as an example that could be repeated in the future.
For eight years, security forces have been trying to enter a territory of 20,000sqkm in Dandakaranya, Kishan said. Now that they have not been able to march in, the government is planning to use air power “to bomb us”, he added. TT