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Several Red Flags Missed Before Naxal Carnage | India News

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The first shot was fired from behind, from a place the forces had already crossed. It was the trigger for a volley of mortars, rifle grenades and machine gun bullets. In a matter of seconds, the entire jungle seemed to explode. The forces were surrounded. Some ran into abandoned huts.
Death lurked there too. How do I get to this? How were security forces surrounded and taken by surprise in an area they had already crossed, even as they retraced their steps?
In the wake of the Tekulguda massacre, questions are being asked about intelligence, operational planning and fieldwork – questions that are uncomfortably similar to those that were asked after the Tadmetla massacre exactly 11 years ago in which 76 soldiers were martyred.
Security experts and officers with experience in anti-insurgency operations told TOI, on condition of anonymity, that there were several red flags for troops in the operation that were not heeded, reports Rashmi Drolia.
CRPF CEO Kuldip Singh has denied there was any operational or intelligence failure. “If that had been the case, the operation would not have been carried out and so many Maoists would not have been killed,” he had said on Sunday. “The Maoists suddenly started shooting at security personnel, taking advantage of their stronghold. The weapons they used were advanced machine guns. However, we fight bravely, ”he said.
One of the injured jaws said the forces realized something was wrong. “When we were heading towards Tekulguda, we felt that something was wrong as the village and the surrounding areas had no population. The houses were empty. There was an eerie silence. We contacted senior commanders and were ordered to keep moving, ”he said.
“A few hundred meters ahead, a shot came from behind. Before we could take positions, we were surrounded on all sides and caught in an ambush. The Maoists used all kinds of advanced weapons, such as sniper rifles, rocket launchers, UBGLs, and mortars. It was terrible to see the comrades fall, one by one, ”said the survivor.
“We realized that the only way to break the ambush was to keep shooting.” The troops were ambushed on their return when they found no trace of the alleged ‘gathering of senior Maoist leaders’ that had led to the operation. Was ‘intelligence’ a ruse to lead security forces to the kill zone? Were POEs followed during penetration into Maoist-dominated territory? Maoist preparation for the ambush indicates that it was meticulously planned, security experts say.
Sources say the security forces received information during the past week about Maoist leader Hidma. Another problem may have been the diverse composition of the force: 2,000 troops, as confirmed by Interior Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu.
It consisted of commandos from CoBRA, CRPF and its Bastariya Battalion, and DRG and STF from the state police. An officer with long experience in countering the insurgency said: “Carrying out such a massive operation with troops from so many units requires precise overall command and coordination. Coming from different training backgrounds, with varied abilities, approaches, abilities and immunity, such a massive joint operation in the heart of Hidma territory was a lot to ask for. ”
While CoBRA commandos are known for their aggressive counterattacks, DRG personnel are mostly young tribal or former Maoists, while STF is a force created and stationed for rapid reaction operations.
“Coordination is vital in an operation of this type,” the officer said, noting that it was led not by senior commanders on the ground, but by some junior officers. “When such a large force enters an operation, a ‘technical headquarters’ must be established in the nearest camp. A senior officer should have led the five teams that started from the Tarrem, Usoor, Pamed, Minpa and Narhaspur camps, ”said a veteran of anti-Naxal operations.
The closest camp to the ambush site is Tarrem, 8 km away, established in November 2020. A closer one, just 2 km away, is planned in Bendre, but has yet to be established.
“There are several mounds on both sides of the road from Tarrem to Tekulguda. The SOP is clear that the troops must walk on the slopes and not on low ground, “said an officer.
Maoist spokesman Abhay issued a statement on Monday, saying that his fight is not against the police or security forces. “Those who are recruited by the forces are also part of the exploited people and it is our compulsion to fight when they come with weapons to fight against us. Our condolences go out to their families, ”he said, urging people“ not to send their children to join the security forces ”.

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