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Unified command meets in Ranchi

Ranchi, Sept. 9: The first meeting of a nine-member unified command of Jharkhand today inked plans to run and monitor anti-Maoist operations.

The command was constituted to provide an edge to the ongoing anti-Maoist operations according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestions. The command would help the state combat Maoists in a co-ordinated manner.

The command, headed by chief secretary Ashok Kumar Singh, held a closed door meeting for about two hours, and kept the outcome a secret.

Inspector general (operations) R.K. Mallick, who happens to be the convenor of the command, refused to comment. Other members too remained mum, except to state that they have been specifically asked not to share the minutes of the meeting by the Union home ministry.

One of the members of the committee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a general discussion on security issues. “We discussed how to run and monitor the operations in various parts of the state,” he said.

“The officials at the meeting were those who usually meet on security issues, as the state is yet to select a retired major general rank officer, who is supposed to be a key part of the set-up. So, nothing new was supposed to be come out of the meeting,” said another participant.

The ministry of defence had referred a panel of three retired major general ranked officers — M.S. Balhara, A.S. Grewal and Vinay Bhatnagar. One of them will be part of the command.

The Prime Minister mooted the proposal of a unified command at a meeting of chief ministers of Naxalite-hit states on July 14 to bring state forces, the administration, paramilitary forces and a retired army official under a single umbrella to add more bite to the anti-rebel operations.

The army officer is supposed to be entrusted with overseeing operations against the Maoists and also impart training to state forces.

Those who attended the meeting included development commissioner S.K. Chaudhary, home secretary Rajbala Verma, DGP Neyaz Ahmed, IG (CRPF), M.P. Nathaneal and IG (special branch) S.N. Pradhan.

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