Monday, April 12, 2010

Autopsy says 64 cops died of blood loss

Courtesy: Mail Today

Sahar Khan
Raipur, April 12, 2010

It's official. The Dantewada massacre toll could have been much lower than 76 had the securitymen received timely medical assistance. The postmortem report of the personnel points out that 64 deaths occurred owing to excessive bleeding from bullet injuries.

While 64 jawans suffered bullet wounds which were not attended to on time resulting in heavy blood loss, 11 were killed because of injuries caused by hand grenades and bombs, the report stated. It also revealed that an improvised explosive device (IED) led to one death.

A senior police officer of the state said the postmortem report mentioned that 64 jawans bled to a slow and painful death. The CRPF personnel driving the bullet- proof vehicle was the only one who died in the IED blast, he added.

After the attack, M AIL T ODAY had reported how the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men bled for eight hours following the Maoist ambush before they got medical assistance.

Perhaps many more security personnel could have been saved had they received timely medical aid. Health professionals maintained the fatalities could have been lower had the wounded been treated in time. It was the delay that bloated the casualty figure.

Seventy- six personnel were killed in the bloodiest Naxalite attack in the remote forested terrain of Dantewada district in south Chhattisgarh, 550 km from the state capital Raipur, on April 6. Of these, 75 were CRPF men and one was a local policeman.

"Sixty-four jawans died owing to excessive bleeding resulting from the bullet injuries and 12 others were killed instantly after they came under a relentless attack with hand grenades, IEDs and other crude bombs," a senior state police officer said.

"Lives could definitely have been saved had the victims got timely trauma care. How the injured are handled immediately after the incident, which is the golden hour, often determines the outcome. If the bullet injuries were fatal, the personnel may have died within 5- 15 minutes. But there is a distinct possibility that timely critical care could have saved some securitymen," Dr Abbas Naqvi, a senior physician of Raipur, said.

H owever the state police spokesman R. K. Vij said the chances of the personnel surviving were bleak after fatal bullet and explosive injuries were inflicted on them. " Most probably, all the 76 jawans had died by the time the rescue party reached the spot. But I can give definite information only after I go through the post- mortem report," Vij said.

There is, however, no doubt that the seven critically injured survivors underwent a long and painful wait of eight hours

before they were airlifted to the nearest hospital in Jagdalpur, about 170 km from Chintalnar - the ambush site in Dantewada.

" We urgently require 300 medical staff to deal with such emergency situations, and a proposal in this regard has already been sent. This team can treat the injured security personnel at the site of accidents or attacks before they are attended by specialist doctors," additional director general of police (anti-Naxalite operation) Ram Niwas said.

Promod Kumar, one of the injured personnel, said he and his colleagues were in great pain because of the multiple bullet injuries they had sustained. Their wounds were only treated when they were taken to Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur. " God has saved us," Kumar, who is recuperating at the hospital, said.

"There is an urgent need for some life-saving medical facilities in areas where the forces are deployed. The problem is that the remote and inhospitable terrain remains a major hurdle.

Doctors, too, are unwilling to work in rural tribal areas, particularly in Naxalite-infested regions," Vij conceded.

Many security personnel in the restive Bastar area revealed that it took a long time to carry the injured jawans to the nearest hospital for intensive care and treatment.

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