An internal inquiry by the CRPF into the massacre of 75 of its men by Naxalites in Dantewada on April 6 has held four of its officers guilty of several lapses,including the fact that the ill-fated operation was planned in a hurry and without adequate assessment of the threats and dangers.
The report of the Court of Inquiry,instituted by the CRPF to probe into the role of these four officers,is learnt to have found fault with the manner in which the three-day-long area domination exercise by the CRPF had been planned by DIG Nalin Prabhat just three days after taking charge of his office in Dantewada. The report has noted that the decision to go in for such an exercise was taken by Prabhat during a meeting he had with Chhattisgarh Police IG in Bastar on April 1. Prabhat had taken charge on March 29. The operation codenamed Operation Khanjar by Prabhat began on the night of April 3 and 4.
Such a large-scale operation involving 38 teams covering all over the jurisdiction (of the DIG),just within a week of taking over the charge,apparently did not give adequate time to Nalin Prabhat,DIG,to assess the strengths and weaknesses of his troops. His statement that he had three and a half years experience in CRPF in south Kashmir,undertaking operations through his troops cannot be treated as sufficient enough in operating with another group of troops in a totally different kind of operational area, the report is understood to have said.
Incidentally,Prabhat has a reputation of being tough on Naxalites and his performance as SP in Naxal-affected Karimnagar and Warrangal districts of Andhra Pradesh have been widely appreciated,which has been taken note of by the Court as well.
The other officers,whose role was probed by the Court of Inquiry,were the then IG (Special Sector),Ramesh Chandra (now retired),the commandant of the ill-fated battalion,Vimal Kumar Bisht,and Inspector Sanjeev Bagri who led the reinforcement team after hearing of the attack. The report has concluded that Ramesh Chandra was not diligent enough in exercising control over officers who had planned the operation.
Bisht has escaped with a minor reprimand relating to the charge that he had not paid sufficient attention in planning the operation. But Bagri has been indicted for his failure to lead the reinforcement to the spot in time.
The Court of Inquiry submitted its report to the Director General of CRPF Vikram Srivastava on June 30. The report is awaiting further action from the DG.