Centre pledges to fight fire with fire

The National Security Council, headed by the prime minister, met to not just take stock of the situation, but evolve an effective strategy to use fire power to halt the Maoists’ destructive and violent ways.

The NSC meeting was attended by Singh’s Cabinet colleagues, top Intelligence Bureau and Home Ministry officials and the three service chiefs.

While the prime minister called it a “horrific” incident, Chidambaram admitted that something must have gone “drastically wrong” in the security forces’ joint operation that was under way when the attack took place.

Clearly rattled by the “very high casualty”, Chidambaram who, of late has taken the lead role in drawing up anti-Naxal strategies along with IB and paramilitary officials, tried to put up a brave front. He said the attack showed the brutality and savagery of the Maoists whom he had described as “cowards” a couple of days back while on a tour of Lalgarh in West Bengal.

While Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar blamed the killings on intelligence failure, Chief Minister Raman Singh said: “We need to review our strategy every day. We need to have better coordination.”

According to information reaching North Block, the CRPF company was heavily outnumbered by nearly 1,000 Maoists in the Mukrana forests.

What has surprised Home Ministry mandarins and intelligence officials is that the Maoists were able to use pressure mines in the ghastly strike.

Information on the loss of firearms –– LMGs, rifles mortars, grenade launchers,  wireless communication sets and ammunition –– was being collected by the Home Ministry.

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