Ruling out the possibility of deploying the army in anti-Naxal operations, Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday 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 Indian Air Force 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 the army and the IAF in anti-Naxal operations.
The defence minister said the services are providing "full support”. “In fact day before yesterday (Saturday), before this tragedy happened, the 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-member of Legislative Assembly Uday Mudliyar, state unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son.
Thirty-two others, including senior party leader VC Shukla, were injured in the attack.