Centre okays use of UAVs for red zone vigil

New strategy focuses on speedy control of liberated areas

The audacious Naxal attacks and the recent killing of an abducted intelligence officer has forced the Centre to adopt measures which may not be merely ‘retaliatory reactions’ to the uninterrupted Maoist hammering, sources told Deccan Herald.  

The Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday deliberated for 90 minutes on all the aspects of the Maoist penetration, described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “the biggest threat” to the internal security. The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and was assisted by three Chiefs of army, navy and air force, the National Security Advisor and the Union Home Secretary. 

The police and the para-military forces would be assisted in the anti-Naxal operations by helicopters like Chetak and MI7.

The main thrust of the new strategy would be to take speedy control of the so called ‘liberated zones’ from the strangle-hold of Naxalites and put the ‘Reds’ on the back foot.  
Economic incentives would be accorded to the security forces operating in the Naxal zones with higher insurance coverage and as much as 25 per cent hike in their basic salaries. Adopting  son-of-the-soil theory, maximum preference would be given to the local people, according to sources. 

Force takes precedence

The use of police force, for now, would take precedence over the developmental plans which otherwise form part of the two-pronged strategy of the Centre to counter the left-wing influence. As per the Centre’s admission, Naxals have “pockets of influence” in 20 of the 28 states in the country. 

The Home Minister who recently described Naxals as “anti-development” maintained that   states of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand became industrially backward due to Maoist violence.

According to Home Ministry statistics, Naxalite strikes on economic establishments have progressively grown in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal. While 71 Naxalite attacks were reported in 2006, the numbers swelled to 109 in 2008. In the last ten months the country has witnessed 56 Naxal attacks.

A prominent Naxal leader Kishenji on Thursday rejected the Home Minister’s call to abdicate violence and take the path of democracy, saying there was no question of giving up arms.

A section of top intelligence and police officers believe that Maoists penetrated with alarming speed in the country during last over last four-decades on account of the flip-flop policy of the Centre that allowed Maoists to strategise and swell their cadre strength in most of the states, particularly those inhabited by tribals.

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