Abandoning of injured cop; MHA asks Def Min to take action

The Home Ministry has asked the Defence Ministry to take action against IAF men who had abandoned an injured policeman and an armed helicopter in Chhattisgarh, saying the incident was extremely disturbing.

Home Secretary R K Singh asked his counterpart in the Defence Ministry Shashikant Sharma to institute an inquiry and take appropriate action in connection with the January 18 incident when Maoist' gunfire had forced an Indian Air Force helicopter to make emergency landing. A state police wireless operator had suffered gunshot injuries in the incident.

He said the conduct of the IAF men in abandoning the helicopter, their weapons and the injured wireless operator appears to be a clear violation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

This act by the members of an Armed Force of the Union is "extremely disturbing" and "reflects on their battle hardiness", Singh said in a letter to Sharma.

Giving the sequence of events, Singh said the Mi-17 helicopter was fired upon at around 1700 hours from hill surrounding the area causing injuries to the police wireless operator, who was one of the seven occupants of the chopper.

The helicopter had to make emergency landing at an undesignated place, 2.25 kms from Chintagufa police station.

But the six IAF personnel, including two commandos of elite Garud force, abandoned the injured wireless operator and also their weapons and the helicopter, he said.

Upon being informed, CRPF's anti-Naxal 'Cobra' unit personnel marched towards the area where incident took place and located the chopper at around 2200 hours. The injured wireless operator was evacuated to Chitagufa police station in the early hours of January 19.

The Home Secretary said the landing site of the helicopter at Timlewada was not properly sanitised by the Chhattisgarh Police and the Home Ministry was taking up the issue.

"...I request you to kindly have the matter inquired into and take action as deemed fit," Singh said in his letter to the Defence Secretary.

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