Use of air force can be revisited in Naxal operations: Chidambaram

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Jagadalpur (Chhattisgarh), Apr 7 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that while at the present there was no mandate for the government to use the military or the air force in anti-Maoists operations, the option of using the air force could merit a revist.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Chidambaram ruled out the use of the military in anti-Maoist operation, but said if situation arose, the government may revisit its previous mandate.

"There is no need to engage the air force or the army in the operation. This is our present mandate. But if time arises, and if required the Government may revisit its mandate," he said.

In Gandhinagar, the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik expressed his reservations over using the air force in ongoing anti-Maoist operations but said the IAF would involve itself if the state ordered.

"At this level, it is not required. If the state is willing, they can order us at any time, we are ready for that," Air Chief Marshal Naik said.

Chidambaram also held a review meeting of joint forces with senior central and state police officials.

Chidambaram assured the nation that the Government would not allow the sacrifice of 76 Central Reserve Police Force personnel to go in vain and ruled out holding talks with the Naxals at the cost of their sacrifice.

"There is no talk of talks. The 76 brave soldiers made a supreme sacrifice to save the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. We will not hold any talks at the cost of this sacrifice," Chidambaram said with emotion.

"The Maoists are very cruel, they have declared a war against the state, the state is capable enough to give a befitting reply," he warned.

In the morning, Chidambaram along with State Governor Shekhar Dutt, Chief Minister Raman Singh, senior police and Home Ministry officials led the nation in paying homage to 76 dead CRPF personnel.

Chidambaram reiterated there is no operation called "Operation Green Hunt," and clarified that it is an operation launched by the State Governments with the support of central security forces.

"There is no Operation Green Hunt. At some time, one officer used the word. In many times earlier I have denied of any such operation," Chidambaram said.

"The operation is launched by the State Police and supported by the Central security agencies," he added.

Chidambaram also denied reports of non-cooperation between the state and central police.

He said Tuesday's operation was not launched on the basics of intelligence inputs, but was an area domination operation, decided and launched by the local police and CRPF officials.

"The decision to launch an operation was taken by the Jagadalpur Superintendent of Police Amarinder Mishra, DIG of the 62nd battalion Kalluri and other senior officials. The 81-member strong company left the base on April 4,"Chidambaram said.

The company came under heavy firing when they were returning to base after a two-night stay in forest to acclimatize themselves with the terrain.

Chidambaram informed that most the deaths were caused due to IED blasts, and crude bombs. However, a clear picture can emerge only after the debriefing of injured personnel, he said. (ANI)

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