Six days before Maoists ambushed a team of CRPF and police personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, killing 15 of them, the state’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) had passed on specific intelligence about the rebels rehearsing such strikes to the police chiefs of affected districts in the Bastar zone.
“Around 50 Maoists, including women cadre, are carrying out rehearsals for the last two days at Katekalyan in Dantewada district,” the March 5 alert, which HT has a copy of, said. The note also listed possible areas and roads along which a “big Maoist strike” could be expected — including the Jagdalpur-Sukma stretch, where over 100 Maoists, including a big number of women cadre, ambushed the road opening team on Tuesday.
“Rehearsals are being carried out under the presence of platoon commander Jagdish and Darbha division secretary Surendra. There were three tents seen erected at a distance of 100 metres each,” the SIB alert said, adding that Maoists sitting atop trees were monitoring the rehearsals.
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“All intelligence alerts are shared with the state police and central paramilitary forces,” a senior police officer said.
The SIB also issued a separate alert to the superintendents of police of Jagdalpur and Sukma on March 6 about the presence of armed Maoists on the main passage between Jhiram and Darbha and about strong indications of Maoists planning big attacks. “The Maoists can attack security forces engaged in offering protection to road construction works or deployed as road opening parties,” this alert specified.
The CRPF and local police are now looking into how they got ambushed despite specific intelligence.
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Maintaining that both forces had acted promptly on every specific input shared, CRPF IG HS Sidhu said, “In this case too, we had sent around 300 men from different directions and several important points were covered, but nothing came of it. We are working in close coordination with the civil police force and they too know about it.”
Speaking to HT, deputy inspector general of police (SIB), Deepanshu Kabra, said, “The guerillas look desperate to increase military strength, organise meetings and carry out drills like ambushes and planting landmines. They would like to register their strong presence ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar zone.”