The anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh was “poorly designed and incompetently executed”, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, a day after a senior official denied “intelligence failure” after 22 security personnel were killed in an ambush in the state’s Bastar region.
“If there was no intelligence failure then a 1:1 death ratio means it was a poorly designed and incompetently executed operation,” the Congress leader tweeted tagging a news clipping of CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh’s “no operational and intelligence failure” remark.
“Our Jawans are not cannon fodder to be martyred at will,” he added.
Mr Singh, who visited Chhattisgarh to monitor the situation following the Maoist attack, had said that there was absolutely no intelligence or operational failure in the operation.
“There is no point in saying that there was some kind of intelligence or operational failure. Had it been some intelligence failure, forces would have not gone for the operation. And if there was some operational failure, so many Naxals would have not been killed,” Mr Singh had told news agency ANI.
He had, however, earlier acknowledged that his personnel were “surprised and ambushed”.
If there was no intelligence failure then a 1:1 death ratio means it was a poorly designed and incompetently executed operation.
Our Jawans are not cannon fodder to be martyred at will. pic.twitter.com/JDgVc03QvD
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 5, 2021
Up to 2,000 personnel from six camps were mobilised after the security forces received inputs about the presence of two of top Maoists leaders — Madvi Hidma, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army’s (PLGA) battalion number 1 commander, and Sujatha, an associate — in the Jagargunda-Jonaguda-Tarrem belt. This included those from the CRPF’s specialised jungle warfare unit CoBRA, a unit of its Bastariya Battalion, and the District Reserve Guard.
Once one of the teams reached the spot where the Left-wing terrorist commanders were to be found according to the intel, some 400 Maoists encircled the security personnel from three sides. A heavy gunbattle ensued in the jungle, and while the forces fought back with all their might, they suffered huge losses due to the ultras’ tactical advantage, officials said.
Up to 22 personnel were killed in the line of duty and over 30 sustained injuries, officials said. The Maoists also looted some two dozen assault weapons from the forces. The security personnel took cover behind large trees and kept firing till they ran out of ammunition, officials said.
The shootout lasted around four hours beginning around 11.30 am, chief the anti-Naxal operations, Ashok Jueja, said. “We’ve got to know that the Maoists used rocket launchers, hand grenades, and other sophisticated weapons,” he said.
Home Minister Amit Shah, who cut short his election campaign in Assam following the attack, arrived in Chhattisgarh this morning to chair a high-level meeting with state leaders and officials. Besides he will also visit the injured in state capital Raipur.