Suspected Jihadi terrorists served up a chilling reminder of the threats to India within hours of the beginning of 2008, killing eight people in an attack on a CRPF camp in Uttar Pradesh.
Four terrorists stormed the group centre of the CRPF in Rampur, about 150 km from Delhi, around 3 am, officials said. Seven CRPF personnel and a civilian were killed and six others injured.
The terrorists escaped after the attack.
Home Ministry officials in Delhi said there was specific intelligence, warning of terrorist attacks on recruitment centres of paramilitary forces. The intelligence input had been passed on to central forces as well as state governments for necessary action.
Officials hinted that security at the Rampur camp — that acts as the logistics and administrative backbone to the five battalions posted in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast — could have been tighter.
The Centre has asked for a report from the state government.
Chief Minister Mayawati said in Lucknow that the CRPF centre had been warned of a threat by the local authorities. “When there was a terrorist threat, the CRPF should have been careful,” she said. “It is largely because of carelessness of the CRPF that terrorists entered the camp.” She said a state alert had been sounded.
Principal Secretary (Home) JN Chamber said intelligence on a possible attack on the camp had been received in November, when a recruitment drive was in progress there.
The attack seemed meticulously planned. District Magistrate Ramsajeevan told HT that the terrorists were dressed in CRPF uniforms. They first lobbed hand grenades, killing a rickshaw puller sleeping near the main gate. Under the cover of heavy gunfire, they entered the control room near the gate and opened indiscriminate fire on the personnel.
AP Maheshwari, IG (Operations), CRPF, said the terrorists possibly wanted to sneak into the armoury of the camp.
Maheshwari said after being challenged by the CRPF men in the second line of defence, three of the terrorists fled while one managed to enter the administrative block.
He killed three unarmed personnel there.
A few minutes later, he too managed to escape under the cover of darkness, Maheshwari said.
He said orders had been issued to other administrative centres of the force to raise the security level.
"Because we had been able to successfully repel the last three terrorist attacks on our camps in J&K and kill the terrorists, the terrorists seemed to have decided to target the administrative centres of the force that were not as well-guarded," he said.
The terrorists used a route to the group centre that was least guarded.
The CRPF had blocked public access to this approach near the railway line a few days ago but had to open it under pressure from the local population.