Maoists fire at Dantewada massacre probe team



Maoists fire at Dantewada massacre probe team Raipur: Maoist guerrillas dressed in paramilitary fatigues Saturday fired at a team probing the Dantewada massacre in the Chintalnar forest of Chhattisgarh, near the site where 76 security personnel were brutally killed by the rebels April 6. There were no casualties.

The probe team headed by EN Rammohan, former director general of the Border Security Force, was fired upon in the Chintalnar forest, some 500 km south of capital Raipur. The firing took place nearly 4 km away from the massacre site.

The leftist rebels were reportedly dressed in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) uniforms and fired six rounds at the security team of the CRPF and state police escorting to the probe team. Officials at the police headquarters here said the firing was "a desperate attempt" by the Maoists to make their presence felt before the probe team.

"Maoists fired a few shots from a distance on the probe team," Amresh Mishra, Dantewada district superintendent of police, said over phone.

"The police guarding the team returned fire. There is no casualty or injury," he said.

Mishra said the guerrillas escaped into the forest after the exchange of fire. "It's difficult to say how many Maoists were involved in the firing," he added.

The former BSF chief reached Chhattisgarh Saturday to probe the Dantewada massacre.

The 69-year-old Rammohan met a few personnel of the 62nd battalion of the CRPF at Chintalnar in a bid to establish the sequence of events on April 6. The 75 CRPF troopers of the 76 killed that day belonged to the 62nd battalion.

Sources said the probe team returned to Jagdalpur town, headquarters of Bastar region, after visiting the massacre site.

Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan and CRPF Special Director General Vijay Raman are also accompanying Rammohan, a 1965 batch Indian Police Service officer, who is expected to complete the probe by April 24.

He is also scheduled to interact with senior officials of the state police and the CRPF posted in the restive Bastar region to find out the exact reason for what went wrong April 6.

IANS