Centre may hand over probe into Sukma Naxal hit to NIA

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Forces fine tuning strategy to launch major offensive against Naxals.

People and children at a candle light vigil in memory of the CRPF personnel, who were killed in the Sukma Naxal attack in Chattisgarh, in Patna. (Photo: PTI)

Bhopal/New Delhi: The Centre may ask the National Investigation Agency to take over the probe into the recent killings of 25 CRPF personnel in Sukma in Chhattisgarh.

Sources in the Union home ministry said it was a fit case to be handed over to the NIA as many security personnel were killed in a single incident. “We are contemplating handing over the probe into the Sukma incident to the NIA,” said an official.

Senior security advisor in the Union home ministry K. Vijay Kumar has visited Chhattisgarh’ conflict zone of Bastar second time in three days to review counterinsurgency strategy following a “confidential” report submitted by the NIA in the wake of April 24 Naxal ambush.

Sources told this newspaper on Sunday that senior officers of Chhattisgarh police and different Central paramilitary forces deployed in Bastar along with Mr Kumar have earlier camped in district headquarters town of Sukma to give final shape to a fresh counterinsurgency strategy before May 2, when national security advisor Ajit Doval was scheduled to interact with them from Delhi on video conferencing.

Mr Kumar visited Bastar for the second time in three days on Saturday following submission of a “confidential” report by NIA chief Sharad Kumar, apparently to fine tune the strategy to launch a major offensive against Naxals in southern part of Sukma district in the “very near future”, sources said.

They said options of airdropping reinforcement personnel during the counterinsurgency operations were also weighed in by strategists.

Security forces deployed in other areas of Bastar were being mobilised to join the planned offensive against Maoists in Sukma, considered a safe haven for senior Maoist leaders.

Source said a new standard operation procedure has been announced for security forces deployed in counterinsurgency operations, restricting them from having lunch in the field.

The CRPF’s road-opening party was ambushed at Burkapal in Sukma district on April 24 when they were taking lunch.

However, the security forces were allowed to take snacks in the field. They would take lunch only after they returned to their camps.