What went wrong in Sukma & Who to be blamed ?
|Source: The Hitavada Date: 12 Mar 2017 10:42:39|
By Mukesh S Singh,
“On a fine March 11th morning, a squad of CRPF troopers belonging to a Road Opening Party (RoP) from 219th Battalion moved towards Bhejji in restive Sukma district, only to walk into a ‘fool-proof’ trap laid by the rebels. A powerful IED blast is triggered at 0840 hours ricocheting shrapnel in all the directions, followed by indiscriminate and
heavy firing from all the sides by well-positioned rebels, which scattered the formations and flanks of oversized CRPF troopers. By the reinforcements and rescue party reached the ambush site, 9 personnel were killed while three more succumbed to injuries later.”
This mere gist of such a horrible and ghastly massacre by insurgents could not be just summed up as another blow to the security forces (SFs) battling the leftwing extremism in Bastar. But the Saturday morning bloodbath by the Maoists cadres has managed to mark a major infliction on the SFs – in a single-go – since the onset of year 2017 as well as previous year 2016.
Yet, beyond and within the pragmatic of all ‘feel good’ factor that had been coursing high in the veins of State Administration and State Police that they managed to crush the Maoists in their hinterland, just turned out to be a hoax once again, if today’s blow to the CRPF is any yardstick.
Actually what went wrong in Sukma, whose catastrophic fallout led to such a major blood spill on Saturday?
Quite ironic and stereotype it may sound, but truth is always stranger than fiction. Here are three quick reasons behind the today’s incident. Firstly, the movement of CRPF troopers’ was way too exposed in the Maoists-controlled liberated zone. Secondly, the forces presumably underrated the threat of Maoists ambush even as the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) is underway. Thirdly, the RoP was moving in the areas sans any ‘intelligence’ input about the presence of the Maoists in the densely forested area, which is controlled by two top ranked outlaw’s leader Hidmal, In-Charge of Maoists Battalion and Ganesh Uike, member of Dand Karanya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZ).
Unconfirmed reports also averred that the Sukma District Police and CRPF forces in the area were not well-synced and most of the time repelled each other in terms operational strategy against the ultras, which has quite domineering presence in the area. “Sharing of crucial intelligence regarding the ultras movement or camp in the area, subsequent operations necessitated to whip crack down on them and failure to reciprocate the operational needs of each other (DF/CRPF) could also be attributed as one of the other reasons that led to killing of 12 troopers today in Sukma,” said one of the former Bastar Range IG, requesting anonymity.
In the meantime, former Additional Director General (Naxal Ops) Rajinder Kumar Vij, who is presently ADG Planning & Provisioning/CID, explained that the spot of ambush falls in the ‘base area’ of the Maoists and is very vulnerable for the predictable movement of the forces. “It is not possible for me to comment on the tactics being followed by the forces during the undergoing TCOC period without knowing details of incident,” he added.
Although a thorough investigation later would uncover the real time lapses behind the horror of the attack, the facts would be buried under the files and closets as the senior authorities are into the habit of covering up their flaws and thereby saving their necks by terming the findings of every probe as ‘classified.’
Correlation of the today’s incident as fallout of IG SRP Kalluri’s removal from Bastar Range recently was also strongly ruled out as much publicised since the news of ambush spread like wild fire. “The former Bastar Range IG – although a controversial figure for his style of working – had claimed that he would free Bastar from the Maoists under Mission-2016. Had the counter-offensive campaign against the Maoists under Kalluri regime that claimed killing of several Maoists and their top cadres in different encounters was so effective, then how come today’s ambush could be executed because there should be no Maoists remained in Bastar,” quipped another senior IPS official.
The aforesaid observation by this IPS official with regards to Kalluri’s removal being correlated to the spurt in Maoists violence was equally shared by the Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh himself, who pointed out that such attacks are always sudden in nature and it has nothing to do with the posting of someone in particular.
“It is possible that the rebels must have been keeping eye on the troops since they were out in open and obviously visible since they were extending cover to the ongoing road works in the area, which is very conducive for an ambush. Let us assumed that even if CRPF troopers strictly adhered to Standard Operating Procedure (SoP), they were still easy target to be picked and preyed upon by the rebels, who had secured vantage positions in the area to launch a mass-scale offensive against the forces,” said another senior police official.
Most importantly, according to this official, the looting of weapons from the slain CRPF troopers by the Maoists guerrillas proved that everything fell in place as per their plan and they managed to outrun the squad of 100 in few minutes after the attack. This proves that they still control the area and have the ability to strike at will wherever and whenever they want.
To reinforce the above theory, Chhattisgarh's former security advisor KPS Gill long ago had ridiculed the anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh and dubbed it as 'flawed'. All the CRPF personnel reportedly violated the basic principles of anti-insurgency drive by moving in large numbers, providing an easy target for the attackers.
Now if claims, counter-claims, allegations, counter-allegations, context, pretexts or whatsoever reasoning, irrespective of its justification had to be excused, the Maoists menace continues to plague the state of Chhattisgarh.