Ejaz Kaiser of HT spoke to a senior Chhattisgarh police officer, who was part of the Basaguda operation. In the following excerpts the officer recalls the special
operation followed by the hour-long gun battle.
It was late Thursday evening when we were given the go-ahead. It was to be an intensive operation in three different places in Bastar in south Chhattisgarh, with a gap of only a couple of hours between each of them.
Though everything had been planned well ahead, it required a lot of coordination.
Based on the intelligence input, we were told that there would be a "heavy movement" of Maoists. We were also cautioned that we might come face to face with some top Maoist cadres during the operation.
They were supposed to hold a series of meetings in a spot between Jagargunda in Sukma district and Basaguda in Bijapur district.
It was darkness all around and following the guerrilla tactic, the combined troops of about 100 CRPF and district police personnel headed out on foot, cautiously huddled in small units, staying very close to each other.
Around 11.45 pm, there was an abrupt indiscriminate firing on our forces. Our jawans retaliated swiftly and took position behind the trees.
They were mostly jan militia and foot soldiers of Maoists who opened fire.
At this time, the security forces were still some distance from the target area, where the Maoist heavyweights were supposedly present.
The exchange of fire lasted nearly an hour. And while several Maoists were killed and many others injured, the guerillas prevented the troops from moving forward and closing in on their senior colleagues.
All the injured were brought by the state ambulance which was rushed to the site around 2am.