The attack that killed at least 15 security personnel and a civilian in Chhattisgarh was carried out by more than 200 Maoist cadres to destabilise the Lok Sabha elections, initial intelligence assessment of the attack indicates.
"From the reports currently available with us, the Maoists were unhappy with their inability to carry out a major attack before assembly elections. This has been reflected in their Central Committee meetings," a senior security official told HT.
Read: 16 killed in Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district
State and central intelligence sources said the attack was carried out by Darbhaghati Divisional Committee of CPI (Maoist).
The fresh attack took place in the same area that had claimed the life of several Congress leaders just before the Chhattisgarh assembly elections in December last year.
Among the deceased was Mahendra Karma, who had created the controversial counter-Maoist force Salwa Judum.
The CRPF and police patrol were providing protection to the road-widening work that was being carried out on National Highway 221. The highway stretches from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh to Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. The highway is the lifeline of the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh and is the main link for all the commerce and mining activities from this region.
The pattern of attack by the Maoists seems to be similar to the attack that was carried out in Dantewada in April 2010, when 75 jawans of the CRPF were killed, according to state police officials.
One police official based out of Raipur told HT the Maoists had been monitoring the CRPF team for some time before ambushing them.
"The scale of the attack and the initial reports that we have received show that this was a sizable force of Maoists, could be more than 150 cadres . They must have brought in their cadres from other regions and planned this attack for a few weeks," the official said.