Raipur, Apr 26 (PTI) The killing of 25 CRPF jawans in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Monday has not affected the morale of the force, which is revising its strategy to deal with the rebels, the paramiltary’s chief said today.
“This is really a setback for us but our morale is high.
The CRPF’s officials and jawans have the capability to take on this challenge,” acting Director General of CRPF Sudeep Lakhtakia told reporters here.
“It was the second such incident in the last 40 days. We are preparing our strategy (against Naxals) again. We are revising the strategy. We are standing equally by the officials of the state working in the region,” he added.
Twenty-five CRPF jawans were killed in the Naxal attack near Burkapal village of Sukma district on April 24.
“I visited Burkapal and the incident spot. There was a large number of Naxalites. They had apparently kept an eye on the movement of the CRPF party for the past few days. They had decided the time and the place of the attack,” Lakhtakia said.
He said the Maoists used villagers as a shield and the jawans could not distinguish between them, resulting in a huge loss to the force.
The acting DG denied any lack of coordination between the Centre and state forces. “We will devise strategy together,” he said.
Over frequent face-offs between the CRPF and Naxalites in south Bastar, he said the force has a strong presence in the area.
“Around 28 battalions of the CRPF are deployed in Chhattisgarh. Out of them, over 10 are in Sukma. Daily over 100 anti-Maoist operations are conducted by the CRPF there.
Naturally, when we conduct more operations, we will face Maoists (more frequently). In exchange of fire, both sides will hit each other,” he said.
“If we look at Sukma in terms of geographical conditions, this is going to be the last frontier and this battle is going to be long,” he said.
To a question on reports about Naxalites mutilating the bodies of slain jawans, he said he could not comment without checking the autopsy reports and photographs.
However, during such attacks jawans suffer “cut wounds” due to shrapnel and splinters, he said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.