Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday vowed to avenge the killing of security forces by Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Sixteen people, including 11 CRPF and four Chhattisgarh police personnel, were killed on Tuesday in a ferocious assault.
After paying tribute to soldiers who died in the ambush, Shinde said security forces have definite leads on Maoist presence in the region and a joint operation will be launched to hunt down the ultras responsible for the attack on a Road opening Party (RoP) of the CRPF and State police in Jiram Ghati. “So many jawans have lost their lives in the attack, we will take revenge. The Central and State forces are working in a joint operation. Naxal movement is gradually weakening and their numbers are dwindling. As Assembly elections were successfully held in Bastar region recently, Naxalites are now afraid,” Shinde said.
Home Ministry officials, who reviewed the security situation in the State following the incident, confirmed that 3,000 additional Central forces trained in jungle warfare will be deployed there for combing operations. “There are approximately 200 companies of Central paramilitary forces in the State involved in anti-Naxal operations. We will send more troops if required,” Home Ministry officials said, adding that the next one month will be challenging for the forces in order to ensure a safe election process in the region.
The officials also admitted that there was a specific intelligence input which was shared with the CRPF team that came under attack. They said there was a tactical mistake as troops followed the same pattern despite the input. “There were three identical attacks on Monday and Tuesday in Bijapur, Gadchiroli and Khammam by Naxals targeting three civilians. We have information that Maoists laid a trap in Bijapur by making hoax calls to a police station about an attack,” the officials added. A civilian, who was driving a bike with headphones plugged into his ears, was also caught in the crossfire. Home Ministry officials said Vikram Nishad was perhaps listening to music and could not hear the gunshots.
A recent Cabinet note accessed by Express reveals weaknesses in security and intelligence apparatus in Chhattisgarh.
The Cabinet note said: “The State intelligence bureau has not developed professional expertise to generate human intelligence, conduct psychological warfare, analyse incidents and become a repository of institutionalised knowledge of insurgency. The State STF has produced sub-optimal results.”