New Delhi: In the backdrop of the row over the killing of 19 people in last week’s anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh, the Home Ministry has convened a meeting next week to formulate Standard Operating Procedures for actions against Naxals if civilians are spotted in between.
The meeting will take stock of the ongoing anti-Naxal offensives in different states and emphasise on taking maximum precautions to avoid any civilian casualty during the fight against Maoists.
The meeting, to be attended by DGPs of all Naxal-affected states, chiefs of paramilitary forces and senior Home Ministry officials, will be held days after security forces were accused of killing civilians along with Maoists during an operation in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur area.
A clear directive is expected to be issued to security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations to abandon the exercise if civilians are being taken by Naxals as human shield during day time, sources said.
Besides, if any operation is conducted at night, forces will also be asked to make enough arrangement to illuminate the area to figure out whether the Maoists are trying to take civilians along with them besides carrying night vision equipments.
Claiming that the Bijapur encounter was “bona fide”, sources said the forensic report has suggested the forces were indeed attacked by adversaries which buttressed the paramilitary force’s assertion that they were forced to retaliate on being attacked.