Thursday, August 19, 2010

Use of Special Forces to neutralise Naxal Leaders

Bhopal, Aug 18 (UNI) Special Forces can be used in conjunction with police intelligence to eliminate known naxal leaders and decimate the top rung, opines an Indian Army veteran who served in the Defence Ministry's Counter-Terrorism Division.
"The naxal problem is primarily a politico-economic-criminal problem and not really an insurgency. The Army has a duty to come to the aid of civil power when required but this has to be quick and short and only when an inescapable necessity," Lieutenant-Colonel Behram A Sahukar -- who retired in November 2003 as Additional Officer, Headquarters (HQ) Defence Intelligence Agency -- told UNI.

If really necessary, "we can have military advisors" with the police or paramilitary during operations as well as in the training schools, the expert -- who commanded a Special Forces Parachute Battalion -- said while emphasising that in such cases the Army officer must be given seniority over the police officer. Slowly but surely the police will come up to scratch after a few initial ''reverses'' that must be accepted.

"Police have adequate current resources to deal with the situation within own states. Take the case of Punjab and now Jammu and Kashmir. The Border Security Force and other paramilitary also have air resources, which can be augmented," said Lt-Col Sahukar who has been actively involved in the planning and execution of counter-terrorism operations at Divisional HQ in the insurgency-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

It is about time the paramilitary and the reserve or armed police are used for the tasks they were raised for, he felt while adding that the local political agencies should pull their weight and do the work for which they have been elected.

"The Centre has been very very stingy with the Armed Forces and now there is a lot of discussion on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Many troops come from the affected areas and the Army has to use deadly force to achieve its objective," explained the combat veteran who first saw action during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, in the Western Theatre.

"No point in turning to the Army at the slightest pretext. Think of the Veerappan case during which the Army was not used," Lt-Col Sahukar reminisced.

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