Naxals gathered to plan offensive: CRPF

New Delhi: The CRPF today said presence of a large number of people at midnight in Chhattisgarh`s Bijapur jungles strengthens the fact that Naxal leaders seemed to have gathered there to plan attacks on security forces.

In a presentation to Home Minister P Chidambaram and Home Secretary R K Singh on last week`s encounter with Naxals, CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar said during the gunfight, six personnel of the force sustained serious bullet injuries out of which the condition of two was critical.

A controversy has erupted over the killing of 19 people in the gunfight between the CRPF and the Maoists on the intervening night of June 27 and 28 as some claimed that a number of victims were villagers. "Presence of people from four different villages in the midnight in the jungle area of village Sarkaiguda strengthens the fact that there seems to be mass gathering of prominent Naxal leaders along with their Jan Militia members to plan offensives against security forces," Kumar told Chidambaram and Singh.

The CRPF evacuated the injured securitymen and two injured Naxals and shifted to Raipur for treatment by chopper to save their lives. According to intelligence inputs, approximately one military company of Naxals in the Silger area was stated to be present. Besides, there was information of presence of Naxals training camp in the area. The area is considered to be a liberated zone and has high Naxal presence.

On the basis of Intelligence input, the operation was planned for Silger area, Kumar said. However, the encounter took place near Sarkaiguda village, approximately three km away from Basaguda, when the troops were on their way to Silger which clearly shows that it was a chance encounter, the CRPF DG said.

The firing was suddenly started by the Naxals after observing presence of troops in the area. In this firing, six CRPF personnel got bullet injuries. Hence, the troops had to retaliate the fire in a tactical manner and exercised maximum restraint though the troops were equipped with the sophisticated weapons yet these were not used, Kumar said.