The Congress today created an uproar in Chhattisgarh Assembly alleging that "state intelligence failure" was responsible for the death of 12 CRPF personnel in the Maoist ambush in Sukma district last week. Raising the issue immediately after Question Hour, the Opposition MLAs demanded a discussion through an adjournment motion notice on the March 11 attack which took place under Bhejji police station area. Speaking on the admissibility of the adjournment motion notice, Congress MLA Bhupesh Baghel alleged despite the state government's tall promises and claims to eliminate naxalism, the Maoists have continuously executed incidents in Bastar division. Baghel alleged that the government was only limited to exercising administrative reshuffle and giving statements while the responsible officers of the police department are engaged in political activities rather than policing. "Naxal had attacked a Road Opening Party of the CRPF's 219thbattalion in Kottacheru forest between Injram and Bhejji in which 12 personnel of the paramilitary force were martyred and two seriously injured on March 11. Besides, rebels also looted arms and ammunitions of the martyred jawans. "As per the intelligence report, ultras had planned the attack three months ago and decided the day and duration of the ambush just three days ahead of the incident," said Baghel who heads the state party unit. He claimed that Maoist leaders from adjoining Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha along with local villagers had attended a meeting before the ambush. "Despite reports that naxals were about to execute a major incident, huge loss of lives occured in this incident, which clearly indicates departmental lapses.
The attack has once again proved failure of the state's intelligence network," the Congress leader alleged.
He said though several camps of the security forces are located in Kottacheru area, the rebels still executed the incident in such a place.
Baghel alleged the government had ignored the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) being observed by Maoists during March-May months every year, in which they carry out several deadly attacks on security forces.
In his reply, state Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra said it was incorrect to say that state's strategy against naxals was not effective as 160 Maoists have been gunned down since last year (135 in 2016 and 25 so far this year).
He said the reinforcement of CRPF was rushed to the place from Kottacehru and Bhejji after Maoists had opened indiscriminate firing, coupled with triggering the IED blasts, on the patrolling team of CRPF near Bankupara village at around 8:50 AM on March 11.
Paikra said when additional forces started retaliating, the naxals fled the spot. "In the incident, 12 personnel belonging to CRPF's 219th battalion were martyred and two others injured. 13 weapons of martyred jawans and 1587 live cartridges, besides 2 wireless sets were also looted by the ultras," the Home Minister said. He said the Bastar IG and Sukma SP had immediately reached the spot, following which the injured jawans were airlifted to Raipur for treatment while bodies of the martyred personnel were brought to the state capital. On the same day, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister Raman Singh, other cabinet ministers along with senior police and CRPF officials paid tribute to the martyrs during a wreath laying ceremony at 4th battalion of Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) at Mana here. "Later, the bodies of the jawans were sent to their native places through special flights and helicopters," he added. Paikra said since 2016, 348 weapons have been recovered while 1121 Maoists were arrested during this period. He said the Sukma incident reflects that Naxals are frustrated with the development of road in their so-called stronghold. Unsatisfied with his reply, the Leader of Opposition TS Singhdeo said, "When the security forces are not safe in the area where their five camps are located, how come civilians will feel safe. "It is a matter of great concern that Maoists have ambushed the patrolling teamat a distance of just 1.5 kms from the nearest camp. The area where incident took place is surrounded by at least five CRPF camps." Citing previous incidents, Singhdeo said intel failure was responsible for the attack and demanded a discussion on the adjournment motion. He was supported by Congress MLAs Mohan Markam, Kawasi Lakhma and Dhanendra Sahu. However, Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal rejected the motion.