Amidst controversy over the anti-Maoist operation at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on June 27-28, Union home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday claimed that it was 'genuine', while reiterating that he was sorry if any innocent person was killed.
"Now we have names of 16/17 people. We know their names. Their ages. At least 3 to 4 had previous criminal records. Their previous records clearly associate with left wing extremism. All these facts point to a genuine encounter," Chidambaram told a press conference in Kolkata.
He said that if Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh wanted an inquiry, "that is a call he is entirely free to take. DG, CRPF said there was nothing to hide. They (CRPF) suffered six casualties."
Chidambaram, however, said "if in the firing some innocent people have been killed, we are deeply sorry.
"It is not our intention to kill anyone who is innocent or any child. But this is a case of an encounter where forces suffered casualties first. They returned the fire and inflicted casualties on the other side."
He said "in a case, when the security forces return the fire and they inflict casualties, I am surprised you call it a fake encounter. And when they (security forces) won't fire back, you call them incompetent."