The Gadchiroli police have come under criticism for their failure to enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) which would have prevented the killing of 15 men of the Quick Response Team in a Maoist ambush on Wednesday.
The men travelling in a private Mahindra mini truck were ambushed and killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast.
They were heading out of the Kurkheda police station. Ignoring the protocol of sending an area domination unit to recce the road ahead — which is the usual practice — the QRT unit did not also wait for an anti-landmine vehicle to arrive before deciding to travel in a private vehicle. They were headed to Dadpur village where the naxals had the previous night torched 36 vehicles meant to assist the road construction work, eyewitnesses said.
“This was nothing but hubris and a complete failure of intelligence since the men did not follow the basic protocol. I have seen so many ambushes but fail to understand what was the hurry for them to reach the spot (Dadpur) when such an incident had taken place on Tuesday night,” said Dr. Charanjeet Singh Saluja, who this year received a President’s Medal for his services to the jawans serving in the highly sensitive zone.
The 40-year-old doctor, hailing from Punjab, has participated in crucial encounters in the region including the attack on May 4, 2017 in the Bhamaraghad tehsil.
Locals involved in the torching of vehicles last year at the Etapalli taluka said the naxal attacks were well planned, coordinated and had managed to fox the police.
“This has been in the works for a year and not incidental to any events of the recent past. They (naxals) have been waiting to strike at an opportune moment,” said local activist Manohar Borkar, who had participated in protests against the district administration last year.
The white-coloured vehicle (MH33T0483) was blown up into pieces in the attack. The blast left a deep hole on the Kurkheda- Korchi road, eyewitnesses said. The police officials denied lapses on the part of the forces. “It is not true. We took all the necessary precautions,” said Additional Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli, Hari Balaji.3,500 naxals surrendered between 2014-2017
3,500 naxals surrendered between 2014-2017
According to the recent data, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba had said the geographical spread of the LWE violence has shrunk significantly in the last four years due to a multi-pronged strategy involving security and development-related measures. In an interview to the Economic Times, he said . ‘There is no influence or negligible presence of LWE in 44 districts and most of the Naxal violence is confined now only to 30 worst-affected districts.’ .
When Modi government came to power, the government had categorised 106 districts in 10 states as LWE-affected districts. These districts were covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme for the purpose of reimbursement of security-related expenditure like transportation, communication, hiring of vehicles, stipend to surrendered Maoists, construction of infrastructure for forces etc.So, out of 106 districts, 44 districts have now been freed from Naxal influence in just 4 years. .
The government has planned a long time strategy to curb the Naxal menace in the Eastern states by providing road, air and water connectivity which has helped people to find jobs and livelihood. The government is fully focussed on providing school buildings, Anganwadi centres, primary health centres, drinking water supply, village roads, electric lights in public places. On the other hand, the army has been deployed in excess number in Naxal prone areas and have been naturalizing most affected region very efficiently. .
‘If we talk on the issue of violence in naxal affected areas, then in the last four-and-a-half years it has dropped by 20 per cent,’ Modi said while interacting with BJP workers through videoconferencing on NaMo mobile application. .