CRPF chief Kuldiep Singh has said that there was no intelligence or operational failure in the operation in Chhattisgarh that claimed lives 22 security personnel. He said that his force killed an estimated 25-30 Maoists. The exact number is yet to be ascertained, he said.
“There is no point in saying that there was some kind of intelligence or operational failure. Had it been some intelligence failure, forces would have not gone for the operation. And if there was some operational failure, so many Maoists would have not been killed,” Singh, who is in Chhattisgarh to monitor the situation following the Maoist attack said.
“The Maoists used three tractors to carry the injured and the dead bodies from the spot. It is tough to say right now the exact number of Maoists killed in the operation but it should not be less than 25-30,” he added.
Twenty-two security personnel were killed and 30 others injured in the Maoist attack at Sukma-Bijapur in Chhattisgarh on 3 April.
Meanwhile, official sources said a group of an estimated 400 Maoists had ambushed security personnel who were part of a large contingent deployed for a special operation.
They said the contingent of about 1,500 troops drawn from CRPF’S specialised jungle warfare unit CoBRA, some teams from its regular battalions, a unit of its Bastariya battalion, the Chhattisgarh Police affiliated District Reserve Guard (DRG) and others had launched a search and destroy operation along the border of Bijapur-Sukma district after they got inputs of some Maoists presence in the area.
Four hundred Maoists, an officer said, led by the most wanted Maoist commander and leader of the so-called ‘People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion no 1’ ― Hidma ― and his associate Sujatha are suspected to be behind the Saturday ambush that took place in an area that is a strong-hold of the ultras due to the difficult terrain, large tracts of forests and less number of security forces camps.
The Maoists rained bullets from light machine guns (LMGs) and used low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to mount the attack that went on till evening. He said that the Maoists carried their dead on tractor trolleys.
The total approved strength of security forces personnel for the operation was 790 and the rest were taken as auxiliary and support elements for the long haul operation, the sources said.
Out of the total 22 fatalities, the CRPF has lost eight men out of which seven are CoBRA commandos while one personnel is from the Bastariya battalion. A CRPF Inspector is still missing.
About two dozen sophisticated assault weapons of the killed personnel are stated to have been looted by the Naxals even as security officials said the search of the area is still on and details are being collected from the ground.