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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Congress soft on terror, Naxals get a free hand

Government has a concrete plan to deal with Naxals but keeps alternating between a soft approach and a tough one from time to time. After the killing of police officer Francis Induwar in Jharkhand, it appears the Government may finally enlist the help of the Indian Air Force and give it the right to return aerial fire in the event of an attack.

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday had said, The IAF has every right to respond to the challenges."

The Centre's plan goes thus:

  • Helicopters like Chetak and MI17 will be used for supporting operations.
  • Unarmed Aerial Vehicles will be used for surveillance over Naxal areas.
  • Security forces will be positioned in sanitised zones for upto three years.
  • Incentive schemes will be introduced for security officers posted in Naxal-infested areas, including a 25 per cent hike in basic pay and higher insurance coverage.
  • Vacancies will be filled up by recruiting locals.
  • Officers will be allowed to retain their quarters in main cities or the capital, if posted in Naxal areas.

But politics may come in the way of the smooth implementation as several Naxal hit states are ruled by the Opposition parties. Even within the UPA the full tempo approach has not been fully accepted. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh joined Rahul Gandhi in talking development rather than violent defence as a means to stamp out the reign of red terror.

A week ago, Rahul Gandhi, then AK Antony and now the Prime Minister have blamed lack of governance for Naxal activities. Once again, the Congress brings on itself the charge of being soft on terror.

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