Raipur: Top police officials here say they are still unaware of who ordered a 10-member Chhattisgarh police team to cross over to Orissa for combing, four days after Maoists killed nine of them in the neighbouring state and then cut the bodies into pieces.
"This is the question we all are grappling with. No official based at the police headquarters here gave such a foolish decision, but the big question is who took the mindless decision," a top official at the Chhattisgarh police headquarters told a news agency.
Maoists had Monday afternoon ambushed the 10-member Chhattisgarh police team led by Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Rajesh Pawar, in a thickly forested area at Sonabera inside Orissa, some 14 km away from Raipur district border.
Police were able to reach the attack site and collect the nine disfigured bodies only a day later, May 24, as Chhattisgarh police feared more attacks if they dared to visit the site in haste. Those killed included Pawar. One constable is still reported to be missing.
The incident has become a talking point in the police department here. "Can Chhattisgarh police officers be so insensible that they can send such a small squad of police for combing in the thick forest in a Maoist stronghold and even in the territory of the neighbouring state" - that is the question being asked.
"We are following jungle warfare manuals strictly in the state and always ask police to do combing in strong contingents of about 100 men, split into small groups and move on foot in V-shape in jungle areas vulnerable to attacks," the officer said.
"But May 23, two shocking decisions were taken, first just a 10-member contingent was sent for combing and even more surprising that it was sent to execute task in the neighbouring state," said the officer.
A local police official who visited the site guessed that the rebels boxed in the police team and fired bullets from all directions and then cut them into pieces with axes.