In an oblique but stinging indictment of the Chhattisgarh police, the home ministry has sent out an advisory to all naxal-affected states to coordinate movement of political leaders through the naxal belt ahead of assembly elections, and otherwise.
A security personnel stands near the body of one of the victims of Maoist attack in a densely forested area in Bastar, about 345 kilometers (215 miles) south of Raipur, Chhattisgarh. AP Photo
The home ministry – that has ordered a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into Saturday's ambush and ordered 2,000 more central forces for south Chhattisgarh – has also told states there could be more such attacks.
A high-level home ministry team will also leave for Chhattisgarh on Tuesday for a second round of assessment of the anti-Maoist offensive and focus on intelligence-based surgical strikes by small teams rather than pump in larger numbers on operations for area domination exercises.
The Centre's initial analysis has pointed fingers at the state police leadership for failing to take the standard precautions for political leaders such as advance planning and threat assessment of the political leaders, adequate force deployment along the route to repulse a possible attack and coordination of the arrangements at a sufficiently senior level.
In this case, the security arrangements were delegated to the respective police stations which were highly inadequate.
The advisory indicated the home ministry's disappointment with the arrangements, particularly when the home ministry had "repeatedly advised" the Maoist-affected states to take adequate security measures during the Tactical counter-offensive campaign of the Maoists "wherein political leaders are also specifically targeted".
For the future, all states have been told to assign a nodal officer at the police headquarters to coordinate programmes of all political leaders.
Besides, local arrangements should be fixed at the level at the district police chief or higher, depending on the number of districts involved.
"There is a continuing possibility of more attacks on political personalities and programmes,” the advisory, that attributed Saturday evening’s attack to disquiet within the top leadership," said.