This first arrest in connection with the massacre of 76 security personnel has revealed that the Maoists took advantage of a major CRPF lapse to ambush and kill the jawans. (Read: 76 security men killed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh)
The self-styled commander, Barse Lakma, a top Maoist leader, has confirmed the government's worst fears - that the CRPF company violated basic operating procedures. He has claimed that the Maoists used a lost CRPF wireless set to get to know every move made by the jawans the night before the massacre.
Amresh Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada told NDTV: "The arrested commander has given details of the way the ambush was planned. According to him, local Naxals found a wireless set dropped by the CRPF company on April 5 and handed over the set to Papa Rao - the man in charge of operations in the area. Papa Rao planned the ambush and called in 250 armed cadres from nearby areas. Five-six other spotters kept a watch on the movement of the CRPF company, further fine-tuned the ambush and attacked them the next morning."
The CRPF party, returning after a three-day anti-Maoist operation, was taking a break at around 6 am after travelling all night, when they were ambushed by the Maoists positioned on a neighbouring hill top on April 6. The Naxals - aware of the CRPF movement - executed their attack with fierce precision, giving the jawans no chance to react. They blew up an anti-landmine vehicle and then began firing indiscriminately. The shocked and exhausted jawans were not able to follow standard operating procedures like checking the road for landmines, and were massacred within minutes. The Naxals also managed to loot all the weapons that the CRPF team had.
The Rammohan committee that investigated the massacre has listed violation of many basic counter-insurgency rules that led to the killing of 76 jawans. CRPF sources say lessons drawn from the tragic incident will now be rigorously implemented.
(The photo above is a file shot of the Dantewada attack on April 6)