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Jul 13, 2012 at 09:18am IST

Bijapur encounter: Govt to discuss use of human shields by Naxals

New Delhi: Two weeks after the controversial 'Naxal' encounter in Bijapur of Chhattisgarh, that allegedly left innocent villagers dead, the Union Home Ministry has finally woken up. It has called for a meeting of nine Naxal-affected states and the paramilitary forces to discuss the use of villagers as human shields by Naxals.

On the discussion table will be standard operating procedures to deal with human shields in Naxal operations.

The state and Central government had then argued that if villagers died in Bijapur, it was because they were used by Naxals as human shields. Rights groups and even some Congress leaders, however, rejected the argument.

Using night vision equipment or stopping all night operations are some of the suggestions that will likely be debated on Friday. But is there a practical solution to Bijapur-like situation?

Big Questions:

- Does the apology by the Home Minister and regret by the CRPF DG mean that the Centre is coming around to believing that innocents were killed in Bijapur?

- Will the government adequately compensate the villagers killed?

- CRPF says night operations equalises risk for forces and the Naxals. Will suspending night operation prove to be a setback in war against Naxalism?

- Government alleges Naxals are using child soldiers and human shields. Will villagers continue to be treated as collateral damage??