Giving details of the Maoist attack in Sukma, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in a presentation before Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said days before the attack, the CRPF had acted on intelligence inputs from Chhattisgarh police about Maoist movement at three places but found no trace of them.
There were inputs that Maoists had assembled in three villages, 10-15 kilometre from the site of Tuesday’s encounter, but nothing was found, the CRPF informed the ministry.
The attack by over 400 Maoists came when security arrangements were being made for a road construction team. The presentation added the attackers were divided into three groups, one comprised mainly women in black uniform who fired from behind. At least three personnel killed had bullet injuries on the back. More than 1,000 rounds were fired by the CRPF personnel at Maoists, the CRPF stated.
“There were specific inputs on March 5th, 6th and 9th that Maoists had assembled at Badegadam, Moranga and Elignar. A team of 300 CRPF and state police personnel went to Badedgadam and Moranga on 6th and 7th March but nothing was found. On 6th and 9th March, there was an input for Elignar village and this was followed up but nothing was found,” the CRPF said.
On the day of the attack, there were no specific alerts. The team was attacked by around 400 Maoists near Tongpal, the CRPF said.
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“The Maoists in three groups were spread over one kilometre. When the first group fired, the joint team of CRPF and state police retaliated. The second lot of the joint team trailing them fired at this group… gradually they retreated. There was firing from one more direction and the first line of security personnel had to engage with them.
While the encounter with the second group was on, there was firing from the third group comprising women commanders from behind,” CRPF DG Dilip Trivedi said. A senior officer said eight IEDs along the road did not explode, adding , “They wanted to trap the team and placed IEDs. Had our team not spaced out, all of them would have been killed.”