The 25 CRPF jawans who were killed in a deadly Naxalite trap in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, were having lunch when bullets and grenades showered on them. They were clueless about any such thing coming their way. A party of about 36 troops, out of the total 99, came under the first assault after they had ventured out from Burkapal to decontaminate and provide protection to a 5.5-km long road construction work connecting Chitagufa. The Maoists squad with their sources kept following the movement of the troops when one party of 36, out of the total three, sat down for lunch, the Maoists, possessing sophisticated weapons, took them by surprise and rained heavy gun fire. This is not the first time that CRPF jawans sacrificed their lives for no reason. Changed of Guard in Central Government had brought hopes, however nothing has changed for Defence or paramilitary personnel. Country is without full time defence minister, NIA chief is on contract and CRPF is without head from past few months. Pradhan Sevak is running pin to poll but unable to find one capable leader who can be appointed as defence minister. There is no difference in ruling between UPA and NDA government.
A huge assortment of 22 smart arms, including 13 AK series assault rifles and 5 INSAS rifles, 3,420 live rounds of various rifles, 75 magazines of AK rifles, 31 of INSAS, 67 live UBGL rounds, 22 bullet proof jackets, two binoculars, five wireless sets and a deep search metal detector were also looted by Naxalites. While the slain 25 men and about six others who were injured, tried to gather their weapons or take aim at the marauding Naxalites, the others on the guard duty mounted an effective retaliation and saved about 40 civilians and construction workers who were present in the vicinity of the area during the deadly assault that lasted over an hour. What has surprised multiple security officials is the fact that the Maoists have tacit to used under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL), a smart and sophisticated weapon used by security forces, to inflict fatal casualties on the troops by lobbing grenades in quick succession. It is very likely that these UBGLs were looted from security forces only. That could be as recent as the incident where 12 CRPF men were killed in Sukma on March 11.
The area where the deadly blood bath took place is considered the stronghold of south Bastar Divisional Committee of the Maoists headed by Maoist commander Raghu and is under the Jagargunda Area Committee led by another Maoist Papa Rao. Papa Rao, is a Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh, is emerging as the mastermind for massive manhunt those are launched in recent past. Born in Andhra Pradesh’s Warangal district, 50-year-old Rao, a general secretary of Maoists’ Jagarbandhu area committee is known to be the right hand man of Ramana, the Special General Secretary of Dandakarnya region. Seventy five CRPF men were killed in the country during worst-ever Maoist attack in Chattisgarh in the past. Investigators from the central and state security agencies claim that the tell-tale signs of the audacious attack pointed to the involvement of Papa Rao who is known to have a detailed knowledge about the area’s topography. Ramana too hails from Warangal area, once the ferment of Naxalites, and has been active in Dantewada region for long. He is involved in many strikes on security forces. Even after knowing all this, so far no forces could arrest him or his head Papa Rao.
The another group, Naxalite People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) led by Naxalite commander Hidma who is said to be active in the area at present in view of the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) undertaken by Maoists during summer months to assert their influence in the area.
Maoists are left-wing communist radicals attempting to overthrow India’s government through force. The regions most affected by Maoist violence lie in a wide swath of mineral-rich, forested tribal lands, from Maharashtra to West Bengal. Tribals account for a third of the 21 million people displaced by development projects, as IndiaSpend reported on June 17, 2014, fuelling a resentment that the Naxals exploit. With 49 deaths, in April 2017 is the deadliest month for security forces in Chhattisgarh in the past seven years. The deadliest month in the past decade was April 2010, when 76 security personnel died in Dantewada, the most fatal Maoist ambush ever.
More security forces have died in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Chhattisgarh (235) than in any other state between 2011 and 2015, IndiaSpend reported on April 14, 2015. Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the Sukma Naxal attack, in which 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed in a ‘cold-blooded murder’. Following the Dantewada attack, questions were raised on intelligence and tactical failures. It was reported that counter-ambush drills were not followed, CRPF personnel did not have adequate weapons and there was little ground intelligence. Seven years later, Naxals launched yet another attack on CRPF jawans in Sukma and similar questions are being raised on why and where the CRPF went wrong. Would we not expect that at least half of the group would be on the alert with weapons while the other half had their lunch? After all these years, don’t the CRPF follow even elementary precautions? The casualties can be minimized (but not eliminated) if they followed basic rules. When CRPF is protecting the roadwork in the areas where Naxals and Maoists attacks are common, why can’t they use Drones to observe and attack terrorists even before they strike? Why our government has failed to offer them advance techniques of monitoring the casualties? Why Naxals and Maoists have always proven to be smarter than our forces? What is lacking? India’s armed forces are considered 4th best in the world for reasons only attributed on papers. Why procedures were not followed to maintain a perimeter with lookouts and so on. Who is to be blamed for this laxity?
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