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    Stop ops if Naxals use civilians: Govt to forces

    New Delhi: In the wake of killing of 19 persons in an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh, the Centre on Friday directed security forces to take maximum precaution during offensives against ultras and abandon such plans if women and children are found to be used as human shields.

    The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by the forces when they find Naxals using human shields were discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting attended by senior officials of the Home Ministry and representatives of nine Maoist-affected states.

    "The main emphasis of the SOPs is how to check Maoists' tactic of using human shield and minimise collateral damage in action," an official said.

    The meeting directed the forces to finalise the SOPs after consultations with officers working on the ground and emphasised that forces conducting operations during night must take enough night vision equipment and make enough arrangements to illuminate the area to figure out whether the Maoists are trying to take civilians along with them.

    Operations will have to be to abandoned if civilians are being used by Naxals as human shield during day time.

    If necessary, forces will cordon an area during night and conducted operation only when the first rays of sunlight sets in.

    Those security personnel, who are being inducted fresh, will be given special training on ways to avoid collateral damage and those already deployed will be imparted refresher course and sensitised about local conditions.