Chhattisgarh police concede security failure led to ambush
Just 38 personnel were posted across the extremely-sensitive and forested Darbha valley on the day Maoists attacked the Congress convoy, the Chhattisgarh police have admitted before a commission probing the ambush in which 27 persons including PCC president Nand K Patel and former minister Mahendra Karma were killed on May 25, 2013.
In a major admission of security failure that led to the biggest ever attack on a political party in India, the police have also noted that while both the major leaders were earlier attacked by Maoists—Karma in particular faced immense threats—their security was never upgraded.
“Despite the earlier incident, the PRG never considered it necessary to provide NSG or Z Plus security to Nand Kumar ji,” the cross examination of Chhattisgarh IG (Naxal), filed before a commission headed by HC Justice Prashant Mishra, has revealed.
Significantly, the Intelligence department had regularly sent alerts about the gathering of a large number of Maoists around Darbha and Jeeram areas and the possibility of a major attack. It was known to the police that the Congress convoy with senior leaders would pass through this area, known as the dark zone, where even phone signals do not work.
Still, the cross examination reveals, only 38 personnel of state police and CRPF were deployed to provide security to the Congress leaders across the Jeeram valley, a stretch running into at least 100 sq km in length and breadth, between Sukma and Bastar districts.
As is well known now, a majority of forces of Bastar had been dispatched for CM Raman Singh’s rally in other districts, leading to a shortage of personnel with the SP.
Significantly, Chhattisgarh does not have a specific plan for providing protection to politicians in sensitive areas. “There is no standard operating procedure (given) by the administration for providing protection during political programmes,” the cross examination states and adds: “The state does not have any document to define a Naxal area from a non-Naxal area”.
It also notes that law and order and security procedures for a Naxal-hit district are similar to that for a non-Naxal district. “The state government has not issued any direction in this regard,” it read.
Admitting to another security failure, it notes that several Personal Security Officers attached with the Congress leaders only had pistols and revolvers. “PSOs are directed and they are trained also to carry automatic weapons in sensitive areas,” it says.
Source:: Indian Express