Quick lunch proved costly for CRPF men

Quick lunch proved costly for CRPF men

Locals alerted Maoists about movement

Quick lunch proved costly for CRPF men

A CRPF team’s decision to have quick lunch gave Maoists the perfect setting to launch a deadly attack on them in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Monday, resulting in 25 deaths.

The incident has once again exposed chinks in the CRPF’s preparedness to deal with surprise attacks.
The Maoists were tracking the movement of three CRPF teams which were acting as road opening parties, providing protection to the staff of a 5.5 km-long road construction project. A source said that locals gave the guerrillas inputs about the CRPF teams’ movement.

One team decided to have a quick lunch, and the guerrillas made the most of this, rendering them sitting ducks.

Giving little reaction time, 300 Maoists rained bullets on the CRPF team which was having lunch. Some soldiers jumped into action and saved the workers and other people in the area where the gun battle was on.

While an injured soldier claimed that the Maoists had rocket launchers and automatic weapons, a source in the security establishment refused to confirm.  However, a senior officer said the Maoists used Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), and expressed surprise about it. The guerrillas also used arrows to throw crude bombs at the CRPF team.
The officer said the Maoists may have looted these weapons from earlier gun battles, and it could be as recent as from the site of the killing of 12 CRPF personnel last month.

In Monday’s attack, the Maoists are learnt to have looted 13 AK-series rifles, 5 INSAS rifles, 3,420 live rounds of various rifles, 75 magazines of AK rifles, 31 magazines of INSAS, 67 UBGL rounds, 22 bullet-proof jackets, two binoculars, five wireless sets and a deep-search metal detector.

Another source said the Maoists did not use Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which they usually use to target security personnel.

Also, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) rescue operation was equally dramatic.

While the initial instruction was to airlift three casualties and two Mi-17 V5s, including one on escort role, on landing at Burkapal, the IAF team found that the casualties were more.

One CRPF jawan succumbed to injuries on board.

The security establishment has been citing decrease in incidents and number of casualties, but the series of incidents this year shows that Maoists have not lost teeth and they are still capable of launching surprise attacks.

Citing the increasing number of surrenders, security officials believe that there is a churning in the Maoist circles due to the leadership crisis and disillusionment among the cadre.

However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had warned against complacency, saying Maoists still had the capacity to launch attacks at will.