An alert was communicated to the authorities in Bastar region on three specific occasions this month, a senior officer of the special intelligence bureau (SIB) has claimed.
“On March 6, 8 and 10, we sent alerts to the CRPF and all district superintendents of police in south Bastar and communicated that Maoists were moving in from Odisha. Despite this, our people were ambushed. We need to find out how it happened,” DIG (SIB) Dipanshu Kabra told Hindustan Times.
He said the SIB had “concrete inputs” from villagers about the presence of Maoists in the region. “It is for this reason that the Sukma district SP decided to enhance the strength of forces to be deployed for road opening operation on Tuesday,” he stated.
State police officer Subhash Chand, who led the road-opening operation, was among those killed. Soon after the ambush, massive reinforcements — comprising the special task force (STF) and Chhattisgarh armed forces (CAF) personnel -- were rushed to the nearby forested terrain. Their mandate was to intercept the rebels who had carried out the attack.
Senior police officials view the attack as “astutely planned” by the Left-wing extremists. “The CPI (Maoists) carried out their tactical counter-offensive campaign (TCOC) as they were desperate to regain their military strength and infuse confidence among their cadre. This attack was also aimed at denting the morale of security forces,” Kabra said.
According to intelligence officials based in Bastar, the attack might have been executed by three local Maoist leaders: Bhagat, Vinod and Surendra. “They would have acted on the direction of their top leader, Ramanna alias Ravulu Sriniwas, who was seen near Kanker Lanka in Dantewada, adjoining the Sukma district,” said a senior intelligence officer.