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Bring intel-based approach to combat Maoists, Chidambaram tells CRPF

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in action at the inauguration of the CRPF intelligence school at Kadarpur in Gurgaon on Wednesday.— Photo: PTI

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in action at the inauguration of the CRPF intelligence school at Kadarpur in Gurgaon on Wednesday.— Photo: PTI  

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram fired a couple of rounds from a Light Machine Gun (LMG) to give a sound start to the opening of a shooting drill here on Wednesday while emphasising that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will have to acquire an “intel-based strategy to combat Maoists”.

Mr. Chidambaram was speaking at inauguration of the CRPF Intelligence School. The Home Minister pulled the LMG's trigger like a professional shooter, prompting journalists to ask whether he hit the bull's eye. But there were no answers from the officials present at the Kadarpur school.

After finishing his customary address at the school, the Home Minister was escorted to the shooting range by CRPF Director General K. Vijay Kumar. An LMG was kept ready for Mr. Chidambaram to fire the first bullet at the 50-metre Baffle firing range. Mr. Chidambaram was offered ear caps, which he refused and stepped ahead to pull the trigger. “Was it a bull's eye?” was the question of journalists present at the spot but the queries found no answers as the VIP moved to his place to witness the firing demonstration by CRPF personnel with different weapons.

The CRPF, a key force in anti-Naxal operations, will have to acquire an intelligence-based strategy to combat Maoists who have organised themselves as a “regular fighting army,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

“Counter-insurgency and countering Left-Wing Extremists [LWE] require a very different strategy and approach. It's not intervening, setting things right in a few days and returning to your group centre or your headquarters. It is remaining deployed for a long time to take on an adversary such as the Communist Party of India (Maoists), which is organised as a regular fighting army,” the Home Minister said, terming the training school as a “milestone” in the force's history. “All this has made new demands upon the CRPF. One has to develop intelligence about his adversary, one has to develop intelligence for operations, one has to work with the community and build confidence among the people in that area, undertake civic action programmes to win the support of the people. “So, a lot of new activities have to be undertaken by the CRPF, which is why it was felt that a small intelligence wing or a group in each battalion will be necessary [for the CRPF].”

The CRPF has deployed more than 70,000 troops for anti-Naxal operations in various States.

Mr. Kumar said on the occasion that the new school and the recently-sanctioned snoop wing are special as they will be “customised” for the force's operational requirements. — PTI

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