The killing of the CRPF personnel by Maoists in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday found former police officers K.P.S. Gill and Prakash Singh highly critical of the central government’s handling of the Maoist menace.
Former Punjab Director-General of Police K.P.S. Gill said the government’s anti-Maoist offensive was “faulty” because it had been planned by “armchair panels”.
“This (the plan) is totally at variance with the capabilities of the force and the demands of the situation,” Gill, a former security adviser to the Chhattisgarh government, told HT on the phone. “There is no clarity of thought behind it.”
Asked what was specifically wrong with the plan, he said: “Everything is wrong — the deployment is wrong, the overall concept is wrong. It’s a vaguely worked-out plan and the execution is defective too.”
Expressing disappointment over the killing of the CRPF men, Gill said he saw no point in sending forces inside thick jungles for a four-day patrol when they did not know what they were looking for. “According to this concept, the Naxalites must be hiding behind the trees. Is that so?”
Gill said there was a need to have clarity on what the forces wanted to achieve. “And if you can’t it do yourself, at least consult some people A mission must have an objective,” he said.
Former BSF Director General Prakash Singh said both the Centre and the states were to blame (for the Maoist attack). “Why should they (the forces) be sitting ducks like this?” he asked. “Why should you walk into their traps? The incident puts a question mark on the operational capabilities of the CRPF.”
CRPF IG (Operations) P.M. Nair, who rushed to Chhattisgarh after the attack, said: “We’ve already deployed more forces to hunt down the Naxals.
This is the same area where we lost 10 CRPF personnel last April. Since then we had inflicted heavy damage on them.” This time, however, something seemed to have gone “terribly wrong”, he said, echoing Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s line on the attack. “Leakage” of information on the security forces’ movements could not be ruled out, a CRPF officer said. “Both the security forces and the Naxals were planning to trap each other. They (the Maoists) succeeded,” he said.
“You need to deploy more troops and be aggressive if you want to win the battle,” said a senior government official involved in planning of the special operations.