“Just 40 minutes before the explosion killing eight CRPF personnel on Saturday, I passed the spot safely (in a private vehicle)”, Bijapur Superintendent of Police Avinash Mohanty said.
“This kind of armoured vehicle, which is identifiable, should have been avoided by the CRPF.”
Instead, the troopers should have walked in batches after combing the area.
The police said they had started combing operations. Eight CRPF personnel were killed near Kodepal in Bijapur, about 350 km south of Raipur, on Saturday when the red brigade exploded a powerful device, blowing their vehicle to pieces.
Mohanty said the police had recovered arms and ammunition belonging to the troopers.
“In Bastar, landmines are improvised explosive devices consisting of 50-70 kg of destructive substances. The Bijapur explosion has shown how ineffective armoured vehicles can be,” said Brigadier B.K. Ponwar, director, Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College.
The movement of the forces in the war zone should stick to a given mode of operation because they are in heavily mined areas, a senior intelligence officer in the state police headquarters said.
The troopers, who seemed to lack any knowledge about the area, failed to realise their combatants were closely watching and could target them anytime.
Strategic experts concur with Mohanty and suggest the frequent use of armoured vehicles, about the size of a mini-truck, by the central forces in heavily mined areas should be avoided.
Meanwhile, CRPF sources said only an inquiry would tell if the standard operating procedures were violated.
With PTI inputs