Greyhounds: Home Ministry clears Mi-17 helicopter

After a series of spat between security forces and Indian Air Force (IAF) over evacuation of injured policemen during anti-Naxal operations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cleared the proposal to provide an

Mi-17 helicopter to Andhra Pradesh's anti-Naxal force Greyhounds. MHA has also sought the clearance from the IAF to allow Greyhounds to use the helicopter in Maoist-affected areas.

The Mi-17 helicopter has been provided by MHA from the existing BSF's fleet. The decision was taken after it became difficult for Greyhounds to carry out an operation with the support of the IAF.

On Monday, a Dhruv helicopter dedicated to ferry Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had to be diverted to evacuate a Greyhounds personnel who was injured in an encounter with the Maoists. The incident took place in Bijapur district where Greyhounds personnel swooped on a Maoist group in dense forest.

"During the exchange of fire, the constable suffered bullet injury. Since there was no helicopter available, we sought help from the BSF's Dhruv which was carrying the Rural Development Minister," said a senior official. The Union minister Ramesh was on a two-day visit to Sukhma and Bijapur.

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