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Army Would Not be Deployed to Fight Naxal Terror: Antony

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Ruling out the possibility of deploying Army in anti-Naxal operations, Defence Min A K Antony has said the real answer lies in strengthening local and central police forces.

He said the Services have been extending full support to the police troops on the ground and the IAF was operating its choppers during night also in Naxal-hit areas.

Asked if the time was right to deploy Army in anti-Naxal operations given the intensity of the attack on Saturday in Chhattisgarh, he said, "There in no proposal like that. We extend our support without direct involvement. The real answer is to strengthen the local police and para-military forces".

The Defence Ministry has been against deployment of Army and the IAF in anti-Naxal operations.

The Defence Minister said the Services are providing "full support. In fact day before yesterday, before this tragedy happened, Air Force helicopters were flying at night time. Our support has always been there."

On the Naxal attack, the Minister said, "India is a democracy, there is procedure, there are institutions and there are methods and opportunity for every section to express grievances. But this kind of violence is not acceptable."

Heavily-armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district on Saturday, killing 27 people including Congress leader Mahendra Karma, ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar, state unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son.

32 others, including senior party leader VC Shukla, were injured in the attack.

Army sources said they have so far trained around 79,000 personnel from central and local police forces to tackle the naxal menace.

40 battalions of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and local police have been trained by the Army before they get inducted in anti-naxal operations in left wing extremism- affected states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The Army's Bengal Sappers engineering group has been imparting training to the CAPF and local police personnel in handling improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Senior Army personnel are also involved in training CAPFs at the training schools and centres under the Union Home Ministry.

The sources said a proposal to appoint retired Major Generals and senior army officers by state governments has not progressed successfully.

The Army is also planning to raise a counter-insurgency school in Kondaigaon area of Chhattisgarh.

It also deploys its brigades in the area where jawans practice war fighting maneuvers in Narayanpur ranges there.

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