India to use Air Force, paramilitary against Naxal rebels

08:38, October 10, 2009      

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Barely a day after extreme left-wing Naxalite rebels killed 20 policemen in a gruesome attack in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, India Friday approved the use of its Air Force and the paramilitary Border Security Force in operations against the rebels, Home Ministry sources said.

"The Indian government has decided to use Air Force and Border Security Force to flush out Naxalites operating in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. While BSF personnel will carry out ground operations, the Air Force choppers will keep an eye from the sky. However, the Air Force has been asked to fire only in self-defense as it is not a full-fledged war against the Naxals," the sources said.

On Thursday, a group of 100 armed Naxals carried out an ambush on a police patrol of 40 personnel, in which 20 cops had lost their lives in Gadhchiroli district in Maharashtra.

A day before, a senior police official was beheaded in the eastern state of Jharkhand by the rebels.

"This key decision to use Air Force and BSF came in the wake of yesterday's attack and the killing of the Jharkhand police official," the sources said, adding that the security forces would do their best to curb the Naxal menace from spreading in the country.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently admitted that the country's security forces are failing to curb a growing Naxal insurgency.

"I have consistently held that in many ways, left-wing extremism poses perhaps the gravest internal security threat our country faces. I would like to say frankly that we have not achieved as much success as we would have liked in containing this menace," he said while addressing the country's top police officials in the national capital recently.

Source: Xinhua
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