Will not use army in anti-Maoist ops: govt

Will not use army in anti-Maoist ops: govt
The Centre on Monday ruled out any role for the army in anti-Maoist operations. However, it pitched for an “aggressive” strategy to take on the Maoists through the twin mode of security action and development activities.

A committee under the Union home secretary with chief secretaries and DGPs from 10 Maoist-affected states has also been set up to look into the issue of using technology in the Maoist theatre. The Centre also did not commit more money as demanded by the states, pointing out that it would have to go by the 14th Finance Commission report.

Aggressive strategy 

The pitch for aggression came at the meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by chief ministers and officials of 10 Maoist-hit states a fortnight after Maoists killed 25 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.

Stress was also laid on having actionable intelligence and harnessing technology to take on the Maoist challenge.  The Centre assured all help to the states to move its security regime into cutting-edge technology like smart guns that operate with biometrics.

With Maoists looting weapons from the forces, the security establishment is looking at using tracker-embedded shoes and bulletproof jackets as well as gelatine and other explosive materials with unique identification numbers.

While the home minister asserted that the country will successfully confront the Maoists  with “full force and competence”, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said one should not be misled on what the government meant by aggression.

“You should take aggression in the correct sense, that is, in the sense of quicker, faster, and effective,” Mehrishi told reporters.

Asked whether there was any decision on using army or air force in the fight, he said, “not at all...there is no question of bringing army in the anti-Maoist fight.”  He said there was nothing new in the state police and paramilitary forces getting specialised training from the military.

‘Strengthen PMLA’

At the meeting, he said, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) be reviewed and strengthened for effectively choking the funds.

Asked about demands for more money from states, Mehrishi said both the Centre and states realise the seriousness of the matter. States have demanded waiver of security cost.

“There is a demand for central funds. There is a limit to what funds are available,” he said. Providing details about the deliberations in the meeting, Mehrishi said states demanded additional deployment of paramilitary forces, exemption from payment of charges for paramilitary deployment, more helicopter support and use of modern technology.

There were also demands for inclusion of more districts under the special scheme for Maoist-affected states as well as continuing and revising existing schemes. Effective coordination among states at borders and coordination of police forces of different states as well as paramilitary were also discussed.
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