Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today announced a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into yesterday’s deadly Naxal ambush in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh which left 15 security personnel and a civilian dead besides three others injured. “We will certainly take revenge of this huge massacre of our security personnel,” Mr Shinde told reporters after paying homage to the martyrs at the Reserve Police line at Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar, about 400 km from here this morning. Governor Shekhar Dutt, Chief Minister Raman Singh, the state’s Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra and top police, Central Reserve Police Force, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other officials also paid tributes to the martyrs.
Mr Shinde said that Dr Singh had agreed for a detailed probe into the Tongpal Naxal ambush by the NIA, which was also probing last year’s Jiram Valley ambush on the Congress leaders’ convoy in Bastar.
The then state Congress chief and legislator Nand Kumar Patel, former Union minister VC Shukla, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma and 24 others, including 10 security personnel were killed in Jiram Valley on May 25 last year, months ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
Condemning the Tongpal massacre as the most cowardly act of the rebels, Mr Shinde said a massive joint operation would be launched by security personnel of Chhattisgarh in coordination with other neighbouring states to nab the perpetrators of yesterday’s attack.
The minister claimed that incidents of Naxal violence was decreasing as Naxals were scared and frustrated as was evident from the seized rebel literature. After paying tributes to the martyrs, Mr Shinde had an hour-long meeting with the Governor, the Chief Minister, the state Home Minister and other top officials to take stock of the situation and assured to provide adequate central forces and full support to the state in combating the Naxal menace. Replying to a question, Mr Shinde admitted that security lapses led to yesterday’s Naxal ambush and said a detailed investigation would be conducted to look into this aspect.
Mentioning that the Naxals had carried out the attack on the security personnel to create a fear psychosis among the people ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, he assured that adequate security measures would be taken to ensure peace during the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
According to sources, Mr Shinde, who reached here this morning, was accompanied by Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and other top officials. He has directed them to launch a massive joint counter insurgency operation in Bastar and its neighbouring border states before the general elections.
The bodies of the slain troopers will be handed over to their relatives today to be taken to their respective native places for last rites. Meanwhile, the condition of the three injured security personnel admitted to private hospitals here was stated to be stable.