In a high-level meeting called to review development and security-related interventions in Maoist hotbeds with police chiefs of nine affected states on October 18, the Centre will try to finalise the draft of standards operating procedures (SOPs) in times of crisis situations like when the outlaws use civilians as human shields and when they take hostage/s, especially some key government functionary.
Though the Union home ministry has already sent detailed drafts on both human shields and hostage policy, the states concerned are yet to respond to both.
The Centre has been wanting to put in place a comprehensive policy to deal with hostage crisis, as the Maoists had kidnapped Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna and Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka in Odisha and later Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon in Chhattisgarh.
The draft hostage policy puts forward parameters for negotiations, how to conduct the dialogue by keeping lines of communications open with abductors and back up plan like armed intervention through commando operation in case talks fail.
The SOPs to deal with human shields situation drafted by the Border Security Force (BSF) advocates maximum precaution to avoid collateral damage. Besides collection of better Intelligence about extremists as well as the human shields before going in for an operation, deployment of adequate security personnel and detailed knowledge of topography, including presence of small hamlets it also calls for use of non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets and pepper bombs wherever possible and usage of night vision devices during night operations.
The meeting headed by the union home secretary will also specifically review the work done in 80 Integrated Action Plan districts, progress in telecommunication and road network and is expected to pull up especially Jharkhand and Bihar that have clocked slow progress. Up on the agenda will also be starting Saranada (in Jharkhand) like area specific plan in Maoist strongholds of Bastar, Gadchiroli, Malkangiri and Koraput.