NEW DELHI, Sept 9 - The Army is seriously considering recalibrating its counter-insurgency strategy in the North-East in the wake of an �overcautious� approach being adopted by its field units in the region following the Supreme Court�s strict orders to the CBI to ensure thorough probe into the alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur, military sources said.
They said the Army headquarters was �deeply worried� over the rising casualty figures on the part of the Army in Manipur as well as a marked slowdown in the intensity of its operations against militants in the State, where over 10 major militant groups are active.
The top brass of the Army held a detailed deliberation last month to look at recalibration of operations since there appears to be a �manifested caution� being exercised because of the directives of the court on the AFSPA-related cases, the sources said.
The Supreme Court has passed a number of orders to the CBI in the last few months directing the central probe agency to thoroughly investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings and fake encounters by the Army, the Assam Rifles and the police in Manipur, saying violation of human rights cannot be tolerated.
In July last year, the court, following a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur, constituted a special investigation team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma was summoned by the apex court in July over the �unduly long time� taken by the agency in probing the cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in the State.
The sources said there has been perceptible disquiet among some soldiers and officers deployed in Manipur following the court orders and subsequent CBI action and that they are adopting an �overcautious approach� in carrying out the operations against militants.
In 2017, they said a total of eight army men were killed and 26 injured in anti-insurgency operations while the number of militants gunned down was three. Till August this year, only three insurgents have been eliminated whereas five soldiers were killed and 17 injured in military-led operations, they said.
According to official figures, a total of 1,889 soldiers were killed and 3,168 have suffered serious injuries in action in the North-East since 1997 while the number of insurgents killed during the period was 4,974.
An official said the overall figure of the Army and Assam Rifles personnel killed and injured, along with those gunned down by security forces, was around 10,000 in the last 20 years. �The Kargil conflict had left 527 army men dead and 1,363 wounded. But look at the casualty figures in the North-East,� said the official. � PTI