Big victory for CRPF, but long-drawn battle ahead | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Big victory for CRPF, but long-drawn battle ahead

delhi Updated: Jun 30, 2012 08:25 IST
HT Correspondent

Thursday night's encounters that killed 20 Maoists, including the architect of the 2007 Dantewada jail break, is the first big victory for the security forces in Chhattisgarh since the April 2010 massacre.

Hours after the troops began returning to their camps in Chhattisgarh, the Union home ministry - in an unusual move - gave details of the incident. The last time a similar statement was issued was two years ago when Maoists killed 75 CRPF personnel in Dantewada.

But officials concede they need many more such operations to nibble away the Maoists' Red Corridor. "What this operation does demonstrate is how good homework, training and weaponry can help face any situation," said a CRPF official.

The first intelligence input about a naxal training camp in the area between Jagargunda and Basaguda came more than a month back.

Armed with the mandate given to security forces about six months ago to enter Maoist areas, the personnel were put together from the CRPF, the Cobra teams and the state police.

In terms of accessibility, these areas are as good or bad as the jungles of Abujmarh to the north - the traditional citadel of Maoists that has been out of bounds for security agencies for decades now.

Right from administering medicines to jawans to protecting them from mosquito bites to quietly moving security personnel at three locations to mounting coordinated attack, officials said the operation had given them the experience to keep their casualties to the minimum.

But CRPF officials say it is early to believe they had turned the tide. "They (naxals) know it inside out, the points for ambush and escape but it is an advantage that we will always have to account for," he said.

Call for probe

Villagers and activists at Basaguda have called for an investigation into the encounter, claiming innocent people were shot.

Two villagers admitted in Jagdalpur hospital have claimed they were not Maoists but were hit by police bullets. "We were called by Maoists to attend the meeting," one of them said. "The forces opened fire after barging into the area where some rebels were present."

HT Correspondent, Raipur