Peoples War in India Clippings 28/5/2013



Cong leader for limited Army role in Naxal fight

The Centre may be against Army deployment to counter Naxal violence in the wake of the recent attack in Chhattisgarh, but there is a voice within the party for a limited role of the armed forces to “win the confidence of people”. While the Army is already training central forces deployed for anti-naxal operations and has deputed a Brigadier to advise the home ministry on tactics, Congress secretary Praveen Davar has said a “limited role” should be considered in special circumstances. “However efficient police and paramilitary forces may be, nothing earns goodwill and confidence of the people more than sending Army for few days,” Davar said.

Development can go for a toss in Chhattisgarh on intensification of military campaign against Naxals

DANTEWADA: With both the Congress and BJP advocating an intensification of the military campaign against the Naxals, and the UPA government at the Centre even committing more troops to Chhattisgarh, local development in the state could become a casualty in the crossfire. “An outside force is less capable of discriminating between Naxals and villagers,” says Vishwa Ranjan, former director general police, Chhattisgarh. Such an intensification will result in greater harassment of local tribals, while retarding the government’s attempts to fast-track development in this part of Chhattisgarh affected by left – wing terror. “Developmental work will suffer,” says Samir Garg, who oversees the State Health Resource Centre, an advisory body to the state’s health department. “People will be less willing to travel to these areas on work.”

Government services barely permeate here. For example, according to an official in the Dantewada collectorate, the district of Bijapur had just one chemistry teacher for 3,000-4,000 science students of Class 11 and 12 till two years ago, maybe two now. Skewed ratios are also seen among medical staff and block development officers. Pointing to the kidnapping of collectors Alex Paul Menon and Vineel Krishna, and some subengineers, and the recent firings at government vehicles, another senior official in the Dantewada administration says: “Naxals are targeting the entire administration.” According to Ranjan, there was little consensus till now on how to combat Naxalism.

While UPA was pushing for a crackdown, the state BJP kept insisting that Naxalism had been sizably reined in. The state Congress was a divided house. While Mahendra Karma and Nand Kumar Patel, who were among the 30 killed in the Saturday attack, advocated an armed response, Ajit Jogi wanted negotiations. Judging by initial statements, adds Ranjan, parties are now switching to a more strident rhetoric. Till Saturday, BJP CM Raman Singh was pointing at the decline in casualties – last year saw the lowest number of deaths due to Naxal violence in the last five years – as proof that his government had them on a tight leash. Preparing for elections, he has been visiting every constituency in the state as part of his Vikas Yatra.

This attack has given Congress, which is doing a Parivartan Yatra, a weapon to use against BJP. Jogi said the state government did not give the Congress leaders any security. In the face of these accusations, BJP might choose to push harder on the Naxals. Another variable here is electoral turnout. One reason, says Ranjan, why BJP has been winning from Bastar is because voter turnout is low in its overwhelming rural parts – the Naxal give calls to boycott elections, which the villagers have to obey. Since their writ doesn’t run as well in the urban areas, which are largely pro-BJP, the party romps home.

All-out anti-Naxal operation offing in Chhattisgarh

RAIPUR: An all-out anti-Naxal operation involving specialised forces like CoBRA and Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds will begin soon in the deep jungles in Chhattisgarh in the wake of killing of 27 people, including Congress leaders. The decision was taken today at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary R K Singh and attended by Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar, Director General of Police Ramniwas and other senior Central and state officials.

The fresh multi-pronged offensive involving multiple forces will be launched from various points of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa simultaneously, ahead of which a combing operation will be conducted by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, a senior official told PTI. The operation will be quite similar to that conducted in AbujMad forests last year in which paramilitary forces had combed the entire jungle and every movement of every team was tracked with satellite. “The all-out operation will be from multiple directions involving specialised forces of Central and state governments,” the official said.

550 men guard every VVIP in state Naxal belt

Every VVIP visiting Naxal-affected districts in Maharashtra is guarded by average 550 security personnel. Home minister R R Patil said Tuesday, “In Maharashtra, whether it is a visit of a member of a human rights commission or a political leader, the security in Naxal districts is always very high. Three-tier security is provided using 550 personnel of various agencies.” Chhattisgarh, where a Congress convoy was attacked recently, provides security personnel in double digits.

Patil said, “The high deployment of police force in Naxal districts is an expensive affair. If a big state such as Maharashtra, which has just three Naxal-affected districts of Gadchiroli, Bhandara and Gondia, is finding it hard, one can imagine how difficult it must be financially for a small state such as Chhattisgarh that has to secure a vast area from Naxals.

Katakam Sudarshan, the Naxal leader allegedly behind the Chhattisgarh massacre

New Delhi: Katakam Sudarshan, a 55-year-old top leader of the outlawed CPI (Maoists), is suspected to have planned and executed the ambush of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh this weekend. Sudarshan is counted among the top nine leaders of the CPI (Maoists) and has charge of the central region. He belongs to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and is wanted in at least 17 criminal cases, including those of murder, there.

Sudarshan, also known by the aliases Anand and Mohan and Birenderji, is the man who is believed to have been the brain behind the Dantewada massacre two years ago, in which over 70 CRPF men were killed in a Naxal ambush. The police had then described him as a short, middle-aged, bespectacled widower of dark complexion and with thick hair and graying sideburns, who looks more like a schoolteacher than a guerrilla war strategist. But strategist he is, and a very good one, they say.

The government believes, sources said, that Saturday’s attack was in retaliation to a series of setbacks to the Naxals in the region over the last few months; they have lost about 40 men in anti-Naxal operations by security forces. Katakam Sudarshan is believed to have shifted gears, choosing a “soft target” in the convoy of cars carrying Congressmen rather than hit at security forces, as the Maoists have mostly done so far. Born in Bellampally of Andhra’s Adilabad district, Sudarshan studied at a polytechnic in Warangal before joining the People’s War Group of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah in the 1980s. For the past three decades, he has worked in the field, leading the Maoist movement from north Telangana to the Adivasi-inhabited regions of Dandakaranya in Chhattisgarh. His partner, Sadhana, was a Naxal leader too and was killed in an encounter a few years ago.

Uncertainty grips over businesses in red bastion

Essar’s business of transporting iron ore from Chhattisgarh has been cut to about half its capacity, with Naxal activities casting a shadow on these operations. About two years after Naxalites blew up the company’s pipeline in Odisha, it could not be repaired, owing to threats from the rebels. Through the 267-km pipeline, the company supplied high-grade iron ore from its eight-million-tonne-per-annum (mtpa) benefication plant in Dantewada district to its pellet plant in Visakhapatnam.

From the Visakhapatnam port, the raw material was shipped to Hazira in Gujarat, where the company had a steel facility. According to industry sources, now, Essar Steel is sending just three mtpa of the iron ore it procures from National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). “It has not only reduced the quantity, but also enhanced costs, as the raw material is now transported by rail,” said a source.

Essar officials couldn’t be contacted for an estimate of the loss from Naxal activities. After Naxal threatened they would not allow the company to open the proposed 3.2-mtpa steel plant in Dantewada, the district administration could not conduct a public hearing for land acquisition, despite the company signing an agreement with the state government in 2005. Naxal activities have also hit the operations of Tata Steel. The company had planned a five mtpa steel plant in the Lohandiguda region of Bastar and had signed an agreement with the state government in June 2006. However, work on the project couldn’t be started, as the state government couldn’t acquire land, fearing Naxal violence.

Steel Authority of India Limited, too, failed to develop its Rowghat mines, despite securing clearances for these in 2009. Though work had started on a rail line in the Rowghat area, which accounts for a major chunk of Naxal activities, it was progressing at a snail’s pace, owing to threats from the rebels. The mines were scheduled to supply raw material to the steel plant in Bhilai. NMDC operates from the heart of the Naxal zone; it has mechanised iron ore mines in Dantewada.

Often, Naxalites have attacked these facilities, targeting security personnel. In 2006, Naxal had attacked an NMDC facility and killed eight Central Industrial Security Force personnel. Naxal violence in the state has also put several investment proposals in jeopardy. “For the corporate world, Chhattisgarh means Bastar, and most are avoiding investing in the state because of Naxal violence,” said Anil Nachrani, an industrial association representative.

Women, iPads and laptops: Are Naxals more advanced than the ‘system’?

Raipur: At a time when blame game has started over biggest Naxal attack in which 28 people died including top Congress leaders from Chhattisgarh, PSO of Mahendra Karma recalled the horror of Maoist attack that killed the Congress leader and 26 others. Karma’s mutilated body was found in the ambush up at the hill several hours after the crazed insurgents left the sight. “The Naxals surrounded us and started shooting at out vehicles with their AK-47 and other weapons.

After some time, they asked Mahendra Karma to come outside his vehicle with his hands up as there was no way to escape. Karma ji followed their directions and came outside his vehicle. They took him up at the hill and killed him,” PSO Shafiq Khan said. “There were many women among the over 100 Naxals who gheraod our caravan. The Naxals were laced with latest technology including iPads and laptops. They were carrying packed mineral water. They were even communicating in English over walkie-talkie,” said Dr Sandip Dave who was lucky to be alive after the Naxalite attack. Dave further said that the crazed insurgents dance on their mutilated bodies. They even raised slogan as ‘Long Live Maoism’ and denounced BJP.

UP to hold operations against Maoists

VARANASI: Alarmed over Maoist attack on Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh, police forces have been asked to carry out intelligence operations in Maoist-affected areas in the state. DIG (Varanasi range) A Satish Ganesh directed his forces to collect intelligence reports about the movement of Naxal cadres in Uttar Pradesh and carry out counter-Naxal operations. He held a meeting of district police, CRPF and PAC commanders and intelligence units at Chandraprabha CRPF camp in Chandauli district on Monday. The DIG said that focus should be centered on collecting, collating and analysing the intelligence input, in coordination with IB, Special Branch and LIU. The emphasis should be on area domination exercises, trans-border vigil on possible infiltration of naxal cadres in the event of flush out operations launched in Chhattisgarh.

The seasonal activity of tendu leaf plucking also needed proper monitoring to keep a check on levy collection, said DIG. The DIG has asked to launch a detailed combing plan along with route maps and exact timing. Emphasis has been laid on monitoring the activities of the Naxal cadres who were free on bail, especially those who were involved in heinous crimes. Expressing his concern on the possibility of the efforts of Naxal Cadres to regroup under the aegis of Son Vindhya Ganga Zonal Committee (SVGZC), the DIG said that there was need to curb such moves in the initial stage by nipping it in the bud. He laid stress on basic policing by resolving petty disputes of the locals on priority and gaining their confidence.

He hauled up the officers for being lax on attending public complaints. The climatic conditions and receding water levels have opened up the routes for possible entry in UP from Bihar and Jharkhand. The DIG laid stress to intensify long range patrolling along the interstate borders and gave instructions to beef up camp security by following the standard operation procedures (SOPs), putting of double sentry. Emphasis has been placed on effective community policing, especially by sports activities, distribution of medicine, holding health camps and also by attracting the youths towards employment in armed forces and police by imparting training for the selection.

The DIG instructed the SPs to personally monitor the trial of naxals lodged in various jails and to ensure top grade security during their movements from jails to courts. According to him, there were about 22 top category Naxals lodged in jails and about 212 Naxal cadres were free on bail. During the trial, he asked the LIU, to keep a watch on persons interacting with these Naxals and report any important developments.

The DIG said Chandauli district has witnessed 53 incidents of Naxal violence since 2000, out of which 46 have been chargesheeted. Among total 235 accused of these cases, 178 have been arrested and 55 properties have been attached under 83 CrPC. As many as 19 police and PAC personnel and three other government employees were killed in Naxal operations in Chandauli district while eight Naxals were killed.

Maoists making fresh bases in four UP dists bordering Bihar

The Northern Region Bureau of the banned outfit Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists) is trying to make bases in four more districts of Uttar Pradesh bordering Bihar, official sources said. These districts are Ballia, Ghazipur, Kushinagar and Deoria. Already, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli districts of UP are Naxal-affected. ADG (Law & Order) Arun Kumar said they have submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs details of the activities of the political wing of the Maoists trying to make fresh bases in these districts. He also issued necessary instructions to the IGs and DIGs of the concerned zones and the ranges on Monday in order to sensitise the police force in these areas.

Arun Kumar said the Maoists recorded their presence in Sahatwar police station area of Ballia district when they had murdered a pradhan’s wife a few months ago, allegedly for passing on information to the police about their activity. Ballia SP Onkar Singh told The Indian Express they had identified 53 villages bordering Buxar and Bhojpur districts of Bihar where Maoists activities are noticed. He said they came across increased Maoist activity while investigating the murder of pradhan Musafir Chauhan’s wife Kulmati who was a former pradhan. She was shot dead by unidentified people, but the police found pamphlets related to the ideology of Maoists.

They have arrested 21 persons so far who are related to the group and were involved in the murder and the conspiracy. Seven persons, including a few from other states, are yet to be arrested, added the SP. Ghazipur district borders Buxar and Bhabhua districts of Bihar and areas in the districts which are on high alert to check the Maoist activities include Jamania, Gahmar, Dildar Nagar and Bhanwarkol. Gopalganj and West Champaran districts of Bihar border Kushinagar where Tamkuhiraj, Hanumanganj, Padrauna, Taryasujan, Nibuanaurangia and Khadda are the areas where activities of the Maoists are under scanner. Similarly, Deoria borders Siwan district of Bihar and areas like Salempur, Bhatparrani, Bhatni and Bankata have been identified areas where Maoists activities have increased. Sources said the NRB is targeting farmers who are struggling in courts to get their land freed, the labourers who do not get proper wages and the women labourers who are harassed by the contractors or affluent people in the area.

The NRB group lure this section of people by providing them financial help and hiring prominent lawyers to pursue their court cases. The wing also motivate the labourers, including women, to register their protest against their harassment and arrange people from local NGOs to raise the voice. Sources said that the NRB has been establishing a base in UP since 2006 and the key members visited the state to look after the operation of the outfit from 2008 onwards.

The Maoists were following a five-stage process which includes survey, struggle, resistance (against government), guerilla action (attack on government agencies) and liberation. The UP STF had arrested eight of the core members of CPI (M) from Kanpur on February 8, 2010. They included NRB secretary and central committee and Politbureau member Balraj alias BR alias Arvind alias Bachcha Prasad Koiri (51), Chintan alias Banshidhar Singh alias Marx alias Osho (64), both of Bihar, and Kripa Shanker alias Manoj (35) of Kushinagar district. They all are lodged in different UP jails.

UAVs to monitor Maoists will now take off from Bhilai

The Centre has decided to move the base for operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Begumpet to Bhilai to monitor Maoists. Bhilai near Raipur falls almost in the middle of Chhattisgarh and is strategically better located to keep track of most Maoist strongholds in the region. The Begumpet airport near Hyderabad from where the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) maintains and flies UAVs on reconnaissance missions over large tracts of Maoist strongholds is more than 500km away from South Bastar, where Maoists ambushed a Congress convoy on Saturday and killed at least 27. On the other hand, Bhilai, at an aerial distance of 280km from South Bastar, is much closer.

“The UAVs take 2-3 hours to cover 500km. Moreover, their range is 900-1000km, which means that an aerial vehicle flying from Begumpet would hardly touch South Bastar and would then need to fly back,” an official said. “Covering other Maoist strongholds in Jharkhand and deep in Odisha are out of question.” Having Bhilai as the base will ensure UAVs monitor Maoist movements in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, most of Odisha, and Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.

Chhattisgarh attack: Why India is losing its war against Naxals

Five decades ago, the special forces officer Roger Trinquier set about understanding why his nation losing to enemies it outgunned and outmanned. France, he wrote, was “in studying a type of warfare that no longer exists and that we shall never fight again, while we pay only passing attention to the war we lost in Indochina and the one we are about to lose in Algeria. The result of this shortcoming is that the army is not prepared to confront an adversary employing arms and methods the army itself ignores. It has, therefore, no chance of winning”. Trinquier concluded: “our military machine reminds one of a pile-driver attempting to crush a fly”.

Like the French army Trinquier wrote of, India counter-Maoist campaign will not and cannot succeed. The Indian state doesn’t have enough boots on the ground. The lessons its fighting women and men receive are inadequate. The tools they’re being are issued are the wrong ones. India’s way of counter-insurgency isn’t that different from Mughal emperors, who despatched great imperial columns to put down rebellious governors and or bandits preying on their trade routes. In 2003, a group of ministers which review internal security after the Kargil war, assigned the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) frontline responsibility for counter-insurgency operations—backing up police forces across the country.

The force, at the time of the war, had 167,367 personnel. It is now up to 222 battalions—over 222,000 armed personnel, and 300,000 including administrators and support staff. Yet, the results haven’t been luminous. Even as the CRPF’s numbers have ballooned, the government’s own data shows the number of Maoist insurgents eliminated has declined year-on-year since 2009, from 317 to 114. The number of insurgents and unarmed supporters has stayed steady, at 25,000 plus. In 2010, an entire company of the 62 Battalion was annihilated in an ambush at Tarmetla. In the years since, the CRPF has become increasingly defensive — wary both of taking casualties, or killing civilians in crossfire.

There’s a simple reasons for this. In 2003, the CRPF had seven recruit-training centres, each processing 600-700 women and men through nine-month courses. That number has increased, but using ad-hoc facilities. There’s no dedicated theatre-specific warfare schools and an intelligence service that exists only in name. The force doesn’t fly its own helicopters, necessary in Maoist-hit areas where it can’t use heavily-mined roads, or its own photo-reconnaissance capabilities. If the CRPF was doing what it was supposed to do—just backing up police forces, who would generate intelligence and carry out cutting-edge operations—this wouldn’t matter quite as much.

The thing is, those police forces themselves are in a mess. Figures for 2011, the last year for which government data is available, show just how acute personnel deficits are in state hit by the Maoist insurgency. Bihar had just 54,196 police personnel for a population of 82,998,509—65 for every 100,000 population, against a United Nations norm of 250:100,000 or better. West Bengal has 60,450 police for a population for its 91.34 million residents, 66:100,000.In Odisha, there are 29,481 for a population of 49.95 million, a ration of 70:100,000. The state of Jharkhand—among the better-administered new states—does a little better, with 40,579 officers for 32.9 mn residents, but even that’s just 123:100,000.

Delhi, with 16.75 mn residents, had 66,686 on its rolls at end-2011—far more than Chhattisgarh, which had 27,597. Having more police officers, of course, won’t solve the problem on its own. The sad truth, though, is more cops doesn’t mean more peace. Nagaland, which now has a staggering 1,677 police for every 100,000 population, and Manipur with 669.6, and have some of the highest population to force ratios in India—but haven’t helped put down insurgencies. Mizoram, which has no insurgency, has 1268.6, suggesting police hiring is in fact serving an employment-generation imperative. In a June, 2010, speech, then-home minister P Chidambaram noted that in the states worst-hit by Maoist violence, “there are police stations where there are no more than eight men; and even these eight or less men do not hold any weapons for fear of the weapons being looted”.

He called on states to “enhance the capacity of training institutes in the States to at least double the present capacity, and to recruit at least double the number of policemen and women that are being recruited at present”. He said it, and it hasn’t happened. Both New Delhi and state capitals need to be held to account for this. There’s no shortage, though, of states which got counter-insurgency right — without tanks and gunships and armed drones and whatever else phalanxes of apoplectic retired generals have been calling for on television. Pile drivers, as Trinquier pointed out, can’t swat flies. In the late-1990s, Andhra Pradesh’s politicians united behind a decisive counter-Maoist strategy. Former director-general of police HG Dora built a highly-rated intelligence service, boosted the numbers of police stations and upgraded training. It called in NS Bhati, a veteran of the legendary RAW covert force code-named Establishment22, to train crack special jungle warfare force, the Greyhounds.

The state’s police are still the most feared by Maoists of all their adversaries. Punjab’s KPS Gill famously routed an insurgency that seemed poised for triumph. Prem Mahadeven has pointed out that the success was achieved by strategy, not machismo: among other things, Gill moved forces out of static duties into operations, and enhanced manpower “to attain a reaction time of 3-5 minutes in urban areas, and 15-20 minutes in rural areas”. Tripura the authoritative South Asia Terrorism Portal records, brought “one of the most virulent insurgencies in the country to near-complete end”—an insurgency, like the one in Chhattisgarh, was alleged to be driven by irresolvable tribal-rights issues.

Andhra Pradesh was ruled by the Telegu Desam Party; Punjab by the Congress; Tripura by the Left. Counter-insurgency success isn’t about party politics: it’s about professional skill and political will. Instead of will or skill, we’re getting buck-passing. The Union Government has ordered a National Investigations Agency probe—though what it’s supposed to ascertain is unclear, since the perpetrators are bragging about their act.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been saying that it warned of an attack—neglecting the minor detail that the 26 April Intelligence Bureau alert it refers mentioned only non-specific specific threat. The National Technical Reconnaissance Organisation and the Air Force are blaming each other for why drones aren’t located closer to the combat zone. Ajit Jogi wants President’s Rule; Rajnath Singh is complaining about the NIA. Tragedy is of two kinds. There’s the kind that comes about because of consequences which cannot be foreseen; the consequence of fate. Then, there’s what Socrates pithily described as going “willingly toward the bad”. Akrasia, he called it. It doesn’t take a lot to see which script we’re acting to.

Surgical strikes on rebels soon

With the home ministry’s much-touted coordinated security offensive floundering, the country’s anti-Maoist strategy is up for course correction. Government sources have told HT that the focus will now shift from central police forces securing and facilitating development in Maoist-infested areas to surgical strikes by elite commando units to eliminate the leadership of the guerrillas. But buying sophisticated weapons and training men is the easy part. The tricky part will be getting actionable intelligence about the Maoist leaders. “This is the only way ahead. But generating intelligence is going to be the key, something that should have been done three years ago,” said Ajai Sahni at the Delhi-headquartered think-tank, Institute for Conflict Management.

The home ministry has conceded this point, but is reluctant to completely disown their previous strategy which started in 2009 with 59 central police battalions. There are now 82 battalions and the ministry plans to introduce eight more over the next month, each with a sanctioned strength of 1,000 personnel. Government sources also said that tardiness in implementation of projects and discordant voices within the Congress on the use of force to deal with Maoist activities have delayed the formation of a concrete strategy to deal with the rebels.

BSF jawan injured in IED blast in Maoist-hit Kanker district of Chhattisgarh

A BSF jawan was today injured in an IED blast triggered by Naxals in Maoist-hit Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. The incident took place between Konde and Chhindpal village when the security forces were on an anti-mining operation in the Badgaon police station area of the district, a senior police official said. As per information, the jawan stepped on a landmine in the region triggering the blast, the official said. Additional forces have been rushed to the spot to rescue the injured jawan, the official said, adding the anti-mining operation was still on in the jungles.

Cops yet to learn guerilla tactics to combat Maoists

Even after a decade of training with the Army, officials and personnel of the central police forces are yet to learn the skills to enter and dominate the forested areas of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand where the Maoists currently enjoy an upper hand, opine senior Army officers. In the last 12 years, Indian Army trained close to 79,000 people, including 40 battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (roughly 35,000-40,000 soldiers). The rest were from various state police organisations, including at least 360 police personnel from Chhattisgarh who were trained in bomb disposal and field-engineering among other things. Close to 100 officers, mostly from Border Security Force and CRPF, receive training at infantry units and training schools of the Army. But not many of them are Indian Police Service officers, who have to lead the men in anti-Maoist operations ultimately.

“This remains one of the critical gap areas. If the officers receive training on tactical aspects of operating in forest areas where Maoists are present, they could have taken on the Red Brigade with more efficiency. The CRPF does not seem to be learning that lesson,” said a senior army officer. Indian Army learned it the hard way during their campaign in Sri Lankan jungles in the 1980s. The lessons resulted in better operational strategies such as conducting a road-opening operation from a position of strength. After Saturday’s massacre in Bastar, CRPF immediately sent 600 men, including some of its commandos, to sanitise and take control of the area.

More CRPF men may be sent. But because of the flaws in the training system, CRPF’s response remained ineffective when the troops come under fire from the Maoists carrying automatic weapons, he said. The government, however, has no plans to bring in the Army to tackle the Maoists. Asked if the Army would be deployed in Chhattisgarh, defence minister A K Antony said: “There is no proposal like that. We extend our support without direct involvement. The real answer is to strengthen the local police and para-military forces.” The Army seems to have put on the back-burner a proposal to build a large training facility for the Central Command at Abujhmarh in Bastar, for which it was getting 100 acres of land from the state government.

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