New Delhi: Facing the charge of fake encounter killing of 20 people in Chhattisgarh`s Maoist hotbed, CRPF on Monday defended its action saying it was "bonafide" and wondered if only killing of security forces should be the norm.
CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar said his force, deep inside the jungles of Silger in Bijapur district, drew the first fire in the night and his men retaliated according to the laid down Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
"You will have to see the facts...Where is the area where this incident happened, which is the force that went into the operation..The CRPF went in along with local police into an area which is considered liberated, it is our legitimate duty to go there. We drew the first fire. What exactly happened can be asceratined by the forensics...I don`t want to comment on that.
"You cannot lay the entire blame on the CRPF or the state police. We have always shown extreme restraint and this was a bonafide action," the CRPF chief said.
Kumar said that after six of his men were injured in the encounter, retaliation was the only option for them.
"What else option was available to them there? Otherwise, we would be dying as usual and you would be saying security forces once again are incompetent. Can`t we get it right?," the DG told NDTV`s Left, Right and Centre programme.
Kumar said his "only point" was that one cannot always blame the security forces and maintain that the other side is innocent (Naxalites).
"We have gone to that area (Silger)...There was no police force there..There was coercive rule and we are trying to bring the locals in that area to the normal Indian polity and in this bargain, if a few lives...Blaming CRPF or state police is not fair," he said.
Kumar today briefed Home Minister P Chidambaram about the operation.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has also sought a report from the state government on the encounter that took place on June 29 in the Maoist hotbed of Jagargunda and Basaguda in Bijapur district.