Monday, June 22, 2009

'CRPF didn't follow SOPs in Chhattisgarh to avoid casualties'

New Delhi (PTI) CRPF personnel did not follow the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs), resulting in the death of 11 of its men in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday night, when Naxals triggered an Improvised Explosive Device.

A high-level meeting was on Sunday chaired by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during which the lapses of the CRPF came to the fore.

During the meeting, officials present were apprised that the Chhatisgarh Government had informed that the para-military personnel had hired a private truck to move from Tonagapal to Kokanara village in the state.

Official sources pointed out that it has been mentioned in the SOPs that a road opening party should be sent in case the troop movement was in private vehicles.

The meeting was attended by Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, CRPF Chief A.S. Gill, BSF Director General M L Kumawat and top brass of the Intelligence Bureau among others.

In the meeting, the BSF was asked to pool in more personnel for the Dantewada district and the border guarding force had begun the exercise, the sources said.

Mr. Gill, in the meantime, rushed to Raipur to take on-the-spot assessment of the attack by Naxals and enquire into possible the lapses, they said.

Eleven CRPF personnel died and an equal number sustained serious injuries when the truck, which was bringing them back to Tonagapal from a patrolling exercise, was blown up at Kokanara village, nearly 375 km from Raipur, by the Naxals on Saturday night.

The CRPF team was conducting the exercise after a tip-off that the militants had burnt down a truck near Tonagapal where a road is under-construction.

On the way back, they were attacked by the Naxals, who blew up one of the trucks and fired at the personnel.

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