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UP cops seek army help to stamp out Naxalism
Abhinav Pandey in Lucknow | September 08, 2006 12:51 IST
In a bid to combat Naxalism in parts of Uttar Pradesh, the state government has chalked a plan to get the Indian Army to train the Provincial Armed Constabulary in guerrilla warfare.
The army will train the PAC jawans in the use of latest arms, explosives and tactics, a top state police official said.
With the Naxalites looking to establish fresh bases and expand their area of operation, only a well-equipped and well-trained force could effectively neutralise them, Additional Director General of Police (PAC) Acharya Palnivel said.
Palanivel said training in guerrilla warfare is crucial as the jawans have to fight the Naxals in the thick forests.
The experts from the army will also train the personnel in the use of explosives.
The inaccessible hilly terrain and dense forests of the state provided perfect cover for the Naxalites, who use their own maps to move around and the ignorance of PAC personnel about the area had proved fatal many times, Palnivel said.
On November 20, 2004, the Naxalites ambushed a police party and triggered a land mine blast killing at least 17 policemen near a culvert in the Chandauli district in the state.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Naxalites have their strong presence in Mirzapur, Chandauli and Sonebhadra districts while Gorakhpur, Ghazipur and Ballia are targeted as potential districts to be brought under their influence, intelligence officials have said.
The police is already taking the help of local youth in Naxalite-affected districts to tackle the menace by inducting them in PAC, but specialised training was missing, Palnivel said.
"As there are seven sectors of PAC in Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Bareilly, Meerut and Agra where the army cantonment is situated, it became easy for us to persuade the army officials to train our men at our headquarters. We are planning to train 52 companies, which will be spared from each sector for a month for their training," Palnivel said.
The programme will continue for a year and depending upon availability of force, training would be imparted accordingly, he said referring to heavy demand of the force in the state to maintain law and order.
Palnivel said that under the modernisation programme, PAC had already purchased enough number of self-loading rifles and INSAS rifles as the existing .303 rifles were not sufficient enough to deal with the Naxals armed with sophisticated weapons.
The PAC now consists 100 companies, which are fully equipped with these latest weapons.