Antony rules out deploying Army against Maoists

“Army operations in West Bengal or any other state is the last resort. Army’s role is to protect the borders. Naxal threats have to be tackled by para-military forces and state police,” Antony said here on Wednesday.  “But the government is taking the Naxal threats very seriously. Both me and Union Home Minister are monitoring the situation closely,” the minister said.

The armed forces are so far not directly involved in anti-Naxal operations. They provide logistical support like helicopters and training.

 The comments of the defence minister came close on the heels of the central warning on Wednesday that a repeat of train-hijacking incident could  take place as Maoists would continue to pursue their agenda of armed revolution.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said the country should be prepared for an armed revolution. In the same breath, he described the hijacking incident as nothing but “publicity stunt” planned and executed by armed Maoists and not by the local outfit People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities. He said the Maoists used tribals as their front for carrying out the hijack.

The Home Ministry which held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Maoist onslaught scrutinised an almost “ineffective role” of the Government Railway Police and the Railway  Protection Force.

Meanwhile, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat questioned Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee’s links with the Naxals. Karat said the Maoists did not get embolden because of the swap deal. The Trinamool should realise that the very people who put a front for Maoists in Lalgarh were behind the train attack, he said.

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