Army asks for Rules of Engagement for new facility in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh

Friday, January 14, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Indian Army, which is already deployed in battling militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East, has asked the government to finalise “Rules of Engagement” as it gets ready to open a new training facility in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh.

The Indian Army has sought nearly 600 square kilometers of land in the forest area of Chhattisgarh to be given for training purposes.

The Army is already assisting central paramilitary and state police forces with training and logistics in the battle against Naxalism.

Speaking ahead of the 62nd Army Day here on Friday, Chief of Army Staff, General V. K. Singh said: “The Army will not get directly involved in internal security, especially while dealing with Naxalites. We have deliberately stayed out of any commitment to tackle left wing extremism, except for giving advice or training.”

General Singh clearly stated that the setting up of a training facility under the Central Command in Chhattisgarh has nothing to do with the Naxal problem, and added that the proposed facility would be part of an integrated plan that had been drawn earlier.

He further said that the Army has asked the Government about the Rules of Engagement to determine as to what extent its personnel are protected from civil laws when its facilities come up in Naxal areas.

Asked if Rules of Engagement include firing back on Naxals if they attack, General Singh said that “one can fire back in self defence,” adding that a clarification was needed on how the army should engage the attackers.

“We are neither operating in the area nor are seeking protection under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. We don’t require outside protection and it will come from the force,” he said.

Naxalism has rapidly overtaken insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East to emerge as a bigger threat to India’s internal security.

Many more security personnel, for instance, are now being killed in Naxal-hit states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh than in insurgency-hit states. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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