No air power against Naxals

Promising to hit hard, Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said: “I don’t think we need to use air power at the moment (in the anti-Naxal operation). We can manage with what we have. Our strategy is unfolding and we should be able to manage without air power.”

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said “Something has gone very wrong. They (security personnel) seemed to have walked into a trap set by the Naxalites. I am deeply shocked. This attack shows the savage nature of the CPI (Maoist).” He said all the 82 personnel who had participated in the operation have been accounted for and none has been captured by the Maoists.

 He too emphasised that air power will be used only for evacuation and mobility of troops.
“In the attack 74 CRPF personnel, including a Deputy Commandant and an Assistant Commandant and a Head Constable of state police force have died. Seven injured have been shifted to Jagdalpur,” he said.

Those who have gone from the base camp, to rescue the attacked team, also came under fire, he said. 

“One of the helicopters which has been dispatched to bring back the injured personnel also came under fire from the Maoists,” he added.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock over the attack and discussed the matter with Chidambaram. Later, the National Security Council discussed internal security where the three chiefs of armed forces, the NSA and the heads of RAW and IB were present.

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