Thanjavur: Defence Minister AK Antony has ruled out deploying the Army in Naxal-hit states. "There is no proposal like that because the real answer is strengthening the local police and para-military forces. We will extend all support without direct involvement," Antony said.
The Defence Ministry has been against deployment of Army and the IAF in anti-Naxal operations. The Defence Minister said the Services are providing "full support. In fact on Saturday, before this tragedy happened, Air Force helicopters were flying at night time. Our support has always been there."
On the Naxal attack, the minister said, "India is a democracy, there is procedure, there are institutions and there are methods and opportunity for every section to express grievances. But this kind of violence is not acceptable."
Heavily-armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district on Saturday, killing 24 people including Congress leader Mahendra Karma, ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar, state unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son. 27 others, including senior party leader VC Shukla, were injured in the attack.
(With additional information from PTI)