A failure of intelligence led to the death of two CRPF jawans at the Metala forest. Some locals who had earlier worked for the security forces were no longer providing intelligence.
The jawans were deep inside the forest as part of a special skills training programme along the border of Sarenga police station area in Bankura district when they were killed in a rebel attack. The killings mark the second attack by the rebels in the space of a few days, after a lull of about seven months. Last Thursday, Girish Sahish, a Trinamool Congress worker, was shot dead at Kismat Jambedia village.
Sources in the Metala forest area said about 40 CRPF jawans were involved in a special skills training session for area domination in the heavily forested zone. On Sunday night, the forces received information that a group of 8 to 10 people were proceeding towards Barobari, where there is a CRPF camp. At about 1.30am, when forces from battalions 66, 184 and 186 were trying to surround this group, a bomb went off, followed by gunfire. The jawans retaliated. RN Mahakuddu, 47, a CRPF assistant sub-inspector, and constable Bijay Kumar Reddy, 26, both from 184 Battalion, were killed.
The joint forces had on 25th July 2010 had gunned down 8 rebels including Sidhu Soren, who headed the gana-militia, a wing of the CPI(Maoist) in the Metala forest. The joint forces struck after receiving a specific tip off about the presence of Maoists in the forest. A huge haul of arms and weapons were also seized.
“The lack of prior information of the movement of Maoist squad members and not knowing the topography helped the rebels to escape,” an official said. A section of officers admitted that they are not getting tip-offs from locals. However, they are putting on a brave face.
“Our operation against the Maoists is on and we are getting information about their movements,” IG (CRPF) Vivek Sahay said.