Did lapses in procedure cause Chhattisgarh massacre? CRPF begins probe

Raipur: A day after Maoists used automatic weapons and grenades to massacre 26 CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh, top officials are probing whether there was any advance information about the presence of Maoists in the area and if so, was the information shared.  (Read: Maoists attack CRPF party, 26 jawans killed)

A probe is also on to ascertain whether the CRPF men from 39 battalion, E and F company, followed the standard procedure of taking a different route on their way back from the road-opening patrol on Tuesday. The patrol was being carried out to secure the area ahead of the two-day Naxal-sponsored bandh, starting Wednesday morning. (Read: List of CRPF jawans killed)

The front end of the patrol party was nearly three and a half km long but the tail end was reportedly bunched up much closer, making them an easier target.

Twenty-six CRPF jawans were killed and seven injured when at least 90 heavily-armed Maoists, perched on a hilltop, opened fire from automatic weapons on the 63-member security contingent, 3 km from the CRPF camp in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh, at about 3 pm.

On Wednesday morning, Air Force helicopters airlifted the bodies of the slain jawans to bring them back to the state capital Raipur from where taken to their home towns.

The CRPF chief Vikram Srivastavva surveyed the site at Narayanpur in Chattisgarh where the massacre took place.

Those injured have been moved to various hospitals and a wreath laying ceremony was held for those killed on Wednesday.

The massacre has left behind distraught families. In Bihar, the family of Tarakeshwar, who was the youngest of three brothers, is yet to come to terms with the tragedy. Tarakeshwar's mother is in coma, after suffering brain hemorrhage a few days ago. (Watch: Distraught families of slain jawan cope with the loss)

Tarakeshwar joined the CRPF 22 years ago and got married in 1991, he is survived by his wife and a child he adopted seven years ago.

"He said on the phone that he won't be able to call for 3-4 days as the duty is disturbed and told me not to worry," said Nirmala Devi, Tarakeshwar's wife.

The Naxals have called for a bandh in five states of Jharkhand, Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Besides these five states, two Naxal strongholds in Maharashtra, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, and Madhya Pradesh's Chandrapur and Balaghat districts would also be under the purview of the bandh.

For the first time, the Naxals have exempted the Railways from the 48-hour bandh, which is apparently in protest against the Centre's alleged anti-people policies.

The attack on Tuesday came nearly three months after the country's worst Maoist attack, in which at least 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a state police personnel were killed in an ambush on April 6 in the thick Mukrana forests of Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district. (Read: 76 security men killed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh)

Barely a month after the deadly attack on the CRPF, Naxals triggered a bus blast on May 17 in Dantewada in which 31 people were killed, mostly civilians. (Read: Dantewada bus blast toll 31, PM to review Naxal strategy) (With PTI inputs)

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