Following the recent Naxal attacks that have led to killing of several army personnel, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called for a meeting with some senior army officials on May 8 to discuss further course of action. The meeting will also have other key point agendas including increase in number of flying hours for the Indian Air Force (IAF), use of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) instead of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for road-opening duties, commando training for District Reserve Guard (DRG), and more joint command-and-control centres.
DRG is the wing of Chhattisgarh Police that has personnel who are mostly villagers and surrendered Naxals. IRBs are special armed police force deputed in each state and a trained to handle adverse situations.
In a report published by the Indian Express, Monday’s review meeting has been divided into two segments: the first half of the meeting will focus on security aspects and the second half will be dedicated to development issues.
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Singh has called for this meeting following the deadliest Sukma Naxal attacks on April 25 where 25 CRPF jawans were killed by Maoists. Indian Express quoted Singh saying that the government would review its anti-Naxal strategy. Prior to the Sukma attack, on March 11, Maoists had killed 13 CRPF personnel, also in Sukma. Post the April 25 incident, security forces in state had called off all road-opening duties for the next ’10 days to a fortnight’.
The agenda note for the meeting also stated that Centre has ruled out any direct involvement of the Army in areas hit by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) and also the possibilities to increasing number of flying hours by IAF carrying security personnel for operations in the red corridor. The Indian Army will be asked to provide training to the DRG, Indian Express quoted a top government official. The 10 Naxal affected states will also be directed to identify and construct temporary stations for the landing of aircraft in remote areas to facilitate operations by security forces.