Human Rights activists say it was a cold blooded murder of civilians; CRPF claims most of dead were members of a jan militia and also members of the CPI (Maoists).
In the middle of all this, another dimension has been added by the MHA asking for a wider role for the Indian Air Force as detailed by Sujan Dutta, friend and colleague, in the report reproduced below.
The Air Force, like the Army has consistently resisted deeper involvement in the anti-Maoist operations.
AS early as October 2009, the then Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, in an interview to me had spelt out the reasons why he and the Air Force opposed the idea.
I have reproduced the relevant portion of the interview to put the issue in context.
IAF protests ‘widen red role’ order
Now that brings me to internal security threats. Everyone has acknowledged that the naxalisim threat in the heartland will be a major problem apart from the J&K and the North east and you have been increasingly being employed for internal security threats and for rescue and relief which now infact going on in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. I want you to tell how do u see air force's role in internal security first and then come to rescue and rehabilitation
What kind of weapons are you going to use then.. Small arms or they will be fitted to the helicopters?
We will have guns inside the helicopters fitted to the helicopter. It will be fired by human beings not by the helicopters like we do in war... rockets and antitank things nothing like that. The man will see,identify and at the command of the captain he will fire
And will the helicopter be bullet proofed?
We are not using light helicopters like Chetak, Cheetah. We are using helicopters with armour, the aircrew are also using body armour plus we are doing practical manovering to see that the routing and all are safe. Most important thing which the state government has to do with the police forces is to sanitise the area in which the helicopters are going to land. Now sanitisation doesn't only mean the little helipad or advanced landing ground. It means from where enemy fire is likely to interfere with the rescue crew i.e. one and a half to 2 km from the landing area only then we will be able to operate safely