- The deadly carnage witnessed in Chattisgarh’s Bastar region killing 22 security personnel and injuring another 33 establishes that the ghastly attacks perpetrated by the Maoists continue to remain potent even after sustained efforts to reign them in. That the insurgents were able to inflict such large-scale fatal decimation on the hapless jawans speaks volumes about the influence wielded by the Maoists in the region despite security apparatus launching sporadic combing operations aided by technical intelligence and human intelligence. The latest setback for the security forces would be extremely demotivating, to say the least.
- As the reports emerging suggests, around 2000 security troops had been mobilized for an operation deep in the jungles of Bijapur based on information that a large number of Maoists were holding a meeting here. Understand this bit of information would have been gleaned out of human intelligence from trusted sources at local levels cultivated over the years. To succeed in gathering human intelligence, it is crucial to gain the confidence of the local people inhabiting the inaccessible jungles to glean out trustworthy information on the movements of insurgents who slyly prefer to build the base and/or hideouts for their dubious operations.
- In the instant case, based on the reliable information, a joint operation involving a total of 10 security teams were launched comprising the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and its elite COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) unit, District Reserve Guard, District Force, and Special Task Force of the Chhattisgarh police. Unfortunately, as it turned out and according to jawans who survived the encounter, they did not find anything having reached the targeted spot. They were ambushed and attacked while returning in the deserted Tekulguda village where the ultras had set up firing positions.
- Needless to mention, the brave security forces had unwittingly walked into a Maoist trap leading to the carnage resulting in the martyrdom of so many personnel. Though the security authorities claimed that there is no human intelligence failure stating that quite a several Maoists too were killed, there is no denying that the intelligence inputs were not adequate giving credence to the suspicions about the Maoists gaming police intercepts. A review is in order vis-à-vis large operations with 1000 plus troops in the future as they attract too much attention going against the norm of covert operations with limited numbers.
- As mentioned above, gaining the local tribal people’s confidence in the state apparatus on matters concerning developments all around by addressing the needs of basic amenities viz. jobs, security, dignified living, education, and opportunities to bring them on to the mainstream assumes paramount importance. Focusing on strengthening these issues would severely undermine the Maoists’ influence in garnering tribal support so crucial to sustaining for longer periods. Of course, political parties have to project a unified voice rather than speaking differently to overwhelm the insurgents. Retaliation with proper planning and execution involving both the central and state forces in the near future is in order.