FIVE DAYS after 25 CRPF personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Burkapal area of Sukma, security forces in Chhattisgarh have called off all road-opening duties for the next “10 days to a fortnight”. In two separate ambushes in Bhejji and Burkapal in the last two months, Maoists targeted security forces deployed to protect under-construction roads in the sensitive Bastar region, killing 13 and 25 personnel respectively.
Confirming the development, D M Awasthi, Special DG, Anti-Naxal Operations, told The Sunday Express: “For the next 10 days to a fortnight, we have stopped road-opening security parties all over Bastar. This has been done to ensure that for the next few days, they can concentrate on launching anti-Naxal operations.”
Awasthi said that all security camps in Bastar will be operating in their respective areas for the next few days. “So, for instance, if there is a camp, they will launch operations within a four-five kilometre radius or more. The focus for the time being is on ensuring that that there is return of confidence, and the way to do that is to launch operations,” he said.
Senior Chhattisgarh police officers, however, said another reason why road-opening operations had been stopped was to carry out a review based on the Bhejji and Burkapal attacks. “In both cases, there were some clear lapses. In Burkapal for instance, it seems that while they occupied good defensive positions, they used to rest in the same place everyday. There are also signs that they were in a state of slumber, with some shoes found at the spot, seemingly taken off. These things are still under review, but we will go over what must and must not be done in road-opening operations in the interim. The entire standard operating procedure will be revisited,” said a senior officer.