Ruling out the role of the army in fighting Naxal violence in the state, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Monday admitted "security lapses" that led to the killing of key Congress leaders last weekend.
Seeking an early probe into the matter by a sitting high court judge, Singh also sought to rubbish the charges of Congress party that adequate security was not provided to its leaders who were traveling Naxal-hit Bastar region as part of Parivartan Rally in the state.
"The charge that we did not provide adequate security is not correct. The government did make arrangements to ensure the safety of leaders who were on the yatra. But definitely there are some security lapses. An inquiry has already been ordered to fix the responsibility," Singh said.
The chief minister said strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the lapses on the basis of the inquiry report which will go into the circumstances leading to the May 25 Naxal attack on Congress leaders' convoy.
The attack killed 27 people including former state home minister Mahendra Karma, an architect of Salwa Judum (anti-Naxal vigilante groups) and State Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister VC Shukla was injured in the attack and is at present undergoing treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.
Asked whether the situation warranted involvement of the army in anti-Naxal operation, the chief minister said the region was not a "battleground" and suggested a two-pronged strategy of development and integrated action plan to tackle the menace.
"No need of the Army to fight against Naxals in Bastar area. That is not a battleground. Only integrated action plan and proper coordination among the state and the Centre is needed," Singh said.