Naxal attack: Bengal CM admits lapse

WB CM has admitted that there was lack of alertness leading to the massacre of 24 jawans by Maoists.

Updated: Feb 18, 2010, 15:34 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: Admitting serious security lapses, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday appointed a panel to probe into the recent Naxal attack on Shilda police camp in the West Midnapore district of the state.

Addressing a press conference in the state capital, the Chief Minister said, “There was a security lapse, I must say. There was breach in preparedness and lack of alertness that led to the killing of 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) jawans by Maoists in West Midnapore district.”

Although the Chief Minister refused to make further comments on the incident, he informed that a high-level commission has been appointed by the government to find the loopholes.

“I shall and I must not comment on the incident till the inquiry is over. I decided to order an enquiry since we want to know the whole truth. We have appointed a commission to probe every aspect of the Naxal attack that occurred recently, ” he added.

“We need to know if there was an intelligence failure ahead of the attack. We also need to know what the security forces were doing when the camp was attacked. We will conduct an inquiry and check if we had prior intelligence input on the Naxal attack,” he added.

Elaborating on the issue, Buddhadeb said, “The commission will find out as to what was their (Naxals) modus operandi. How they reached the area and what was our response to them.”

He also assured that appropriate "action" would be taken against senior officers if they were found lax.

While welcoming the central investigating teams for a fact finding mission to West Bengal, the Chief Minister said, “We have absolutely no problem in working with the teams constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The central teams are most welcome in Shilda.”

The West Bengal government has come under Centre’s scanner for failing to prevent what could be termed as the worst and biggest ever offensive by the banned ultras.
The admission by the state government came a day after an outraged Centre slammed the Left Front government expressing dismay at the "unprofessional, incompetent, untrained and inadequate" response of the state police force to the Maoist attack on Monday evening.

At least 24 jawans of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) were killed in a deadly strike by Naxals on their camp at Shilda in West Midnapore district.