A day after 76 troopers were massacred in the worst ever Maoist attack, hundreds of para-military men and state police personnel assigned to track down the killers are scared to enter the jungles of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday fearing a repeat of the 'bloody Tuesday' incident.
The shell-shocked police incumbent in Raipur have ordered nearly 40,000 policemen deployed in the restive Bastar region to retaliate.
But officials posted in the interiors of the region say: "The Tuesday attack has rattled the entire police force engaged in the anti-Maoist operation and they are now reluctant to enter the landmine protected jungle terrain".
"It's easy for everyone to dictate to us from New Delhi and Raipur sitting in air-conditioned chambers, but here the situation is completely hostile because Maoists rule the roost in jungles. The forces in Bastar now need urgent motivation," a police officer based in Dantewada told IANS on phone.
Police officers posted in the sprawling 40,000 sq km Bastar terrain made up of five districts -- Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar, Kanker and Dantewada where the Maoists staged a bloodbath in the Chintalnar hilly area say -- "policemen are suffering high casualties because of an absolute lack of co-ordination between state forces and para-military men who are put in difficult terrains in Chhattisgarh".
"Despite all efforts at the police headquarters and at the state government level, the CRPF is not taking local police and special police officers (SPOs) along while entering the Maoists' den and are thus getting killed without a fight," noted a senior official here.
He remarked that CRPF men are all outsiders and know nothing about the difficult jungle terrain. They were reminded several times by officers at the police headquarters to take along at least the SPOs who are locals but the CRPF men neither followed this suggestion nor did they stick to the 48-point guerrilla warfare manuals.