Naxal ambush: New strategy and operation on the anvil

RAIPUR: The government promised on Tuesday to review its strategy on battling Naxalites, as the Chhattisgarh chief minister warned that an operation will be launched “with more firmness” and “vigour” against the guerrillas in the coming days.
Shaken by the audacious Naxalite attack yesterday that left 25 CRPF personnel dead in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district, the center and the state government are making it clear that they will strike back in equal measure.
Most telling were the comments by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who rushed to Chattisgarh capital Raipur this morning.
“The sacrifice of our brave jawans will not go in vain,” he told a press conference. He said a meeting of all Naxal-hit states will be held on May 8 to look at ways of rooting out Left Wing extremism.
“We will review the strategy (of dealing with Naxailtes) and if necessary we will revisit it,” he said after paying homage to the CRPF personnel killed in the ambush. The government has a two-pronged anti-Naxal strategy — with armed operations followed by development activities, such as constructing roads, health centres and schools, in the affected areas. The security operations are carried out by paramilitary forces with support from state police.
Singh said the guerrillas are seeking to destabilise development in the state and using tribals as fodder. “They are being used as human shields,” he said.
“We are working to root out the problem of Left Wing extremism,” the minister stressed, describing the attack as a cold blooded murder.
“It was an act of cowardice and desperation,” he said.
“We have accepted it as a challenge.”
The attack targeted a 100-strong CRPF patrol that was providing security for road construction work in the Kalapathar area of south Bastar, a region where Left-Wing extremism is rampant.