Do not rule out use of armed forces against Naxals (Part - II)October 14th, 2009 - 2:31 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Oct 14 (ANI): It was the idea of General Bipin Chandra Joshi to raise the Rashtriya Rifles to fight insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. Initially, the plan was to have 25 percent of the strength of the Rashtiya By By I. Ramamohan Rao
Rifles Battalions consisting of regular troops, while the rest would consist of ex-servicemen. But it was soon realized that ex-servicemen would not like to be involved in anti-militancy work and would prefer to settle back home.
As of now, the Rashtriya Rifles battalions are paramilitary forces, which are under the operational control of the Army. The RR battalions do not have heavy weapons, but are equipped with automatic rifles, medium machine guns and surveillance equipment and devices to locate improvised explosive devices.
At present, the anti-naxal operations are being conducted by the State Governments. The State Governments would normally do command and control of operations, and that would give rise to sensitive situations. As such the effort is to raise Special Forces like the Cobra battalions of Andhra Pradesh, which would continue to operate under the State Government.
Special Commando forces are being raised in the Naxal affected States and the Army has been giving them training in counter insurgency operations.
But the task is colossal. It has been officially indicated that Naxals are active in 230 out of the 600-odd districts in the country. According to documents seized from their hideouts, the Naxals had plans to seize power in the country by carrying out a ‘revolution’. Kobad Gandhy, who is in police custody in Delhi, is perhaps the tip of the iceberg with his six different identities.
For over five years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been saying that Naxalism is a major threat to the internal security of the country. He has been repeating it at every Chief Minister’s conference, but the action taken against them on the ground was not effective - may be because the last UPA Government at the Centre was dependent on the support of CPI (M), which was sympathetic to the Maoists.
The situation has changed since the last Parliament elections. Even Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee has realized that he has no place in the Maoist scheme of things. He had to take action against the Maoists in what they called ‘liberated’ areas in Lalgarh and has requested the Centre to retain the paramilitary forces there.
Manmohan Singh should make it clear that the fight against the Naxals would be a no holds barred battle. Otherwise, the fear is that the Maoists would emerge as the Taliban of India. (ANI)
I. Ramamohan Rao, former Principal Information Officer, Government of India.
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Tags: automatic rifles, battalions, bipin, counter insurgency, gandhy, hideouts, internal security, machine guns, manmohan, manmohan singh, naxal, operational control, paramilitary forces, police custody, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, rashtriya rifles, sensitive situations, state governments, surveillance equipment