A day after the attack in Sukma, Union home minister Rajnath Singh cited the Maoist problem as a national challenge and expressed the need to review the ongoing strategic steps and existing security situation.
During his visit to Raipur on Tuesday, the home minister said, “We have to put a united fight against such challenge. We will review and take all strategic steps to deal with the Maoist problem and our fight will continue”. He will make a sou moto statement in Parliament on Wednesday on the attacks.
According to sources, the Maoists managed to carry off more than a dozen sophisticated weapons of security personnel from the Monday’s encounter site, including about 10 AK 47/56 rifles, one self-loading rifle, an INSAS rifle and about 400 rounds of ammunition in the gunfight.
Preliminary reports suggest that more than a dozen Maoists also died in the encounter.
Singh paid homage to the CRPF personnel who were killed in Maoist encounter near Chintagufa on Monday. He also visited critically injured jawans in the hospital.
HT reported on Tuesday that the IAF failed to send choppers after the encounter. The IAF in its rejoinder sent to HT clarified that the helicopters were sent as soon as clearance was given as per the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and IAF joint procedures. IAF maintained that the area must be sanitized before the chopper lands there. The sources said the helicopters were not launched as they could have been targeted if the area had not been sanitised.
The IAF has assigned six Mi-17 choppers to support the state and central police forces engaged in anti-naxal operations in Chattisgarh and Jharkand.
The home minister declared that the families of those killed in the attack will get `38 lakhs while injured personnel would be given Rs65,000 besides free medical treatment.
After arriving in Raipur, Singh held a high level meeting of the senior officials of the state police, CPRF, intelligence and top bureaucrats at Rajbhawan and reviewed the situation. Chief minister Raman Singh and the state home minister Ram Sewak Paikra also attended the meeting. The union home minister’s plan to visit Bastar was shelved.