The government is examining whether to use special forces to help paramilitary personnel and is exploring the possibility of aircraft for surveillance in its ongoing operations against the Maoists, but the army and air force will not be pressed into service.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram informed the Rajya Sabha that a time frame of two-three years has been set to contain the menace, and responsibility for the “terrible failure” that led to Dantewada massacre will be fixed.
“We will be able to substantially contain and control this menace in about two-three years. We have to set for ourselves a time horizon,” he said, replying to a debate on the issue in the House.
In his reply marred by repeated interruptions from the opposition parties, particularly the Left MPs, the home minister said there was no proposal to use the army or the air force in the Naxal-affected areas.
“What is being examined is whether some special forces have to be used to supplement the work of trained paramilitary forces and whether aircraft can be used for purposes of surveillance, logistics, supplies and evacuation,” Chidambaram said.
Former BSF chief, E. Ram Mohan, probing the Dantewada massacre has been asked “to fix responsibility from the Assistant Commandant (CRPF) right up to the minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs... Let him fix responsibility where this failure of command and control took place,” the minister said, adding that the report of the probe is expected by April 25.
Refusing to accept the argument of some of his own party leaders and NGO activists on his way of dealing with the problem, he reiterated that it was a “law and order problem.”
Chidambaram said he was truly “heart-broken” following the incident and felt it was his moral duty to resign, but it was rejected by the Prime Minister.
“I am determined to continue to extend assistance to the states to fight the menace of Naxalism. We have to do so without fear,” he said amidst thumping of desks from the members, including the BJP.
Responding to remarks by the Leader of Opposition, Arun Jaitley on how the home minister would “tackle” his own party colleagues in his endeavour, Chidambaram said, “You (Jaitley) should not make an attempt because you will not succeed in trying to divide my party. That will not happen.”
He added that the Congress and UPA were united.