Pitching for long-term gains of winning over tribals and unmasking the Maoists, central and state security officers have decided that exercising restraint is a better strategy than literally shooting in the dark to kill Maoists that would cost innocent lives as well.
Senior officers leading the anti-Maoist offensive in the states acknowledged at a meeting here on Friday that this strategy would come at a cost. But they believe that long-term benefits would more than make up for the short-term losses.
The rethink was prompted by the late-night encounter last month between Maoists and joint teams of the CRPF-Chhattisgarh Police in which 19 people — at least 10 of them with no record of insurgency— were killed.
“These are not hard and fast rules but a general guideline. The decision to open fire will always remain with the officer leading the security personnel,” a home ministry official said, after Friday’s meeting with inspectors general of police (operations) of Maoist-affected states.
HT had first reported on July 4 that the quarterly meeting of IGs at the home ministry would discuss measures to reduce
For instance, where adequate manpower is available, the home ministry would like the forces to cordon off the area where Maoists are hiding during the night and attack at the break of dawn.
“The attempt should be to focus on the battle-hardened military companies and guerrilla squads of the Maoists rather than the low-rank formations,” an official said.