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Army seeks provisions for countering Naxals

R Krishna Das  |  Kolkata/ Raipur 

Indian Army has asked for sought legal protection and guidelines for conduct of training in a base that it planned to start the restive Narayanpur Chhattisgarh district, known as a strong Naxal den.

The state government’s guidelines would equip the Indian Army for countering the Naxals if the rebels attack the training base or army establishment. The area where the base has been proposed is in Abhujmand-a 4000 square km area.

“The purpose of our proposed base is only for training and (the Indian army) will exercise maximum restrains to avoid direct conflict with the Naxalites”, general officer commanding-in-chief of the Central Command (Lucknow), Lt General V K Ahluwalia, said here today.

He added that there was no such condition or contingency that Naxalites would try to attack the army training base. “After all, they (Naxals) are also our people and such situation (of engaging in battle) will hopefully not arise”, Ahluwalia said. But if such situation arises that Naxalites attack the army camp, the Indian Army is preparing ground for the safety of troop and the establishment. “We have sought legal protection and guidelines from the state government and are hopeful that the formalities will be completed soon”, Ahluwalia said.

The Army officials also met Governor Shekhar Dutt earlier in the day and reportedly discussed the issue with him.

The legal protection and guidelines from the state government are crucial as there are no rules of engagement for the Indian Army to counter the Naxalites, no matter in self defence also. Since any move of army against rebels could also target the civilians in the forests, the army officials want to prepare all the covers before starting the base.

“The training base, probably in a 25 square km area, will train the jawans in counter insurgency and jungle warfare”, Ahluwalia said, adding that the proposed site meets all parameters of training including climate, terrains and others. He added that urbanization had resulted in closure of many training bases and the Indian Army had to search for new areas.

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First Published: Thu, February 17 2011. 00:46 IST