Sukma Naxal Attack: At least nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and two others injured, on Tuesday, in a powerful IED blast triggered by Maoists in insurgency-hit Sukma district in Chhattisgarh. As per the media reports, the rebels used over 50 kgs of explosives to blow up the CRPF vehicle. Soon after the incident, reinforcements were rushed to the spot. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also took stock of the situation. Many media reports claimed the attack as an intelligence failure. However, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir, on Wednesday, denied any intelligence failure asserting that the government is committed to ensuring the security of jawans, as per a PTI report.
Sukma Naxal Attack: Top 10 developments so far:
1. When and How – The blast occurred when a team of CRPF’s 212th battalion was patrolling in a forest in Kistaram area of Sukma. The CRPF van was blown off by the Naxals using a large quantity of IED. Extra security forces have now been deployed in the area.
2. Pre-planned attack – As per reports, it was a pre-planned attack as the Naxals weren’t happy with CRPF making a camp in Kistaram. There was no gun-fight during the incident. Notably, the first encounter between the CoBRA personnel (an elite wing of the CRPF) and Naxals took place at 8 am and later the CRPF convoy was targeted by the Maoists.
3. An intelligence failure? – On the question of whether the attack was a result of an intelligence failure, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir told PTI that the CRPF had inputs asserting ‘the ultras always look for a chance’ to target.
4. Will more forces be deployed in the area? – When asked if the Indian government will deploy more forces in the area to check the Naxal menance, Ahir told PTI that rather than deploying more force, the government will arm the security forces with the latest equipment to further strengthen them adding that there will be greater focus on the intelligence mechanism as well.
5. Tackling the IED threat – Acknowledging the grave danger to the lives of security personnel due to the IED blasts triggered by the Naxals from time to time, Ahir said that the government has also been looking for the latest technology on the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection techniques.
6. Army deployment in Sukma – Ahir denied the probability of deploying the Army to tackle Naxals in the region. He stressed on modernising the defence mechanism techniques.
7. Not the first such incident – Earlier in April 2017, in arguably the biggest Maoist attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh in the last seven years, 25 jawans were killed and six injured in an ambush in the Burkapal area of Sukma. Then, on February 2018, two Chhattisgarh police personnel were killed and six others injured in a gun-battle with CPI (Maoist) at Bhejji in Sukma.
8. Sukma turning Naxal stronghold – With the frequency of attacks increasing in the region, Sukma is being seen as a hotbed of the Naxals. It is worth mentioning here that the non-acquaintance with the local terrain and local language makes the job even more difficult for the security forces. Even Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra, while speaking to a private news channel, admitted that Sukma is becoming the strong-hold of the Naxalites.
9. Rajnath Singh comes to action – Soon after the incident, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed on the matter. He later said on twitter that he has directed the CRPF DG to leave for Chhattisgarh and take stock of the situation.
10. Must learn from mistakes – Hours after the naxal attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, Former Director General (DG) of Border Security Force (BSF), S K Sood said that the “CRPF authorities are not taking the needed remedial actions”. Asserting that CRPF is not learning from its mistakes, he added that CRPF has been repeatedly suffering big losses in this area.