A day after the Sukma incident in which seven Special Task Force (STF) personnel were killed by Maoists, a senior official said Chhattisgarh Police probably misread the situation as only 49 personnel were put on the job to catch Hidma, one of the most wanted Maoist commanders in the area.
Though the police did not inform the CRPF about the operation, as they were well within their rights to do so, it was a well-known fact that Hidma always moved around with a large number of men, more than 100 armed cadre, said the official.
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“After STF suffered casualties, they sought CRPF help and a team of CoBRA commandos were rushed to the encounter site. The CRPF helped in taking the injured to hospital and even retrieved the bodies of STF jawans which were lying at the encounter site for more than 24 hours,” said the official.
Hidma is also said to be involved in one of the worst attacks on security personnel in 2010 when 76 CRPF personnel were killed.
It is not only anti-Maoist operations, CRPF has been tasked with providing security for the construction of 246 km road in the dense jungles of Chhattisgarh that would expedite the movement of security forces in the area.
“Last year we lost 42 men in encounters. How can I accept this? We have decided to go ahead with meticulously planned operations now. Since the December 1 incident, when we lost 13 men in a Maoist encounter, we have carried out 63 big operations,” said CRPF DG Prakash Mishra.
The final report in the Court of Inquiry held into the December 2014 encounter is yet to be tabled before the home ministry. CRPF had come under fire for poor planning of the operation then, where around 300 personnel moved around in jungles looking for Maoists giving the latter enough time to execute an attack on them. Mishra said, “If the roads are built, then half the battle is won. CRPF is providing security to at least five big road projects in Chhattisgarh alone. ”