NIA to probe Chhattisgarh killings, says Shinde

Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), March 12: A day after Maoists massacred 15 security personnel and a civilian in a deadly ambush in Chhattisgarh, union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Wednesday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the brutal killings.

“The killing of policemen is unacceptable and we will take revenge. The jawans of Naxal-hit states will team up with central forces to launch a joint operation against rebels,” Shinde told media persons at the police parade ground at Jagdalpur.

Shinde, Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt and Chief Minister Raman Singh paid homage to the 15 security personnel who were killed Tuesday at Gheeram Ghati in Sukma district.

Shinde said the NIA would probe all aspects of the incident, including security lapses or intelligence failure.

He said the forces would be further strengthened in Naxal-hit states to ensure violence-free Lok Sabha polls.

Raman Singh said the morale of the forces was high in Chhattisgarh and his government would ultimately win the battle against Maoists.

On the opposition Congress demanding his resignation over the repeated Maoist attacks on police and civilians, Raman Singh said: “Maoism or Naxalism is an inter-state problem. It’s not confined to Chhattisgarh only. I always oppose politicising the Naxal issue.”

He said the Maoist problem should never be looked at from the political point of view and advised the Congress to desist from making the killings an issue for the general elections.

Meanwhile, the Congress has called for a statewide shutdown Friday.

Fifteen security men and a civilian were killed Tuesday when an estimated 300 Maoist guerrillas ambushed a patrol party of 50-55 paramilitary personnel and police on a remote stretch of a forested road in Gheeram Ghati.

Referring to the May 2013 Maoist attack in which 27 people, including senior Congress leaders, were killed, Shinde said: “We had given the earlier case to the NIA and similarly this case will also be probed by the NIA.”

Shinde said the Maoists carried out the attack because they were “afraid” and their cadre was shrinking.

“Naxal movement is gradually weakening and their numbers are dwindling while (assembly) elections were successfully held in Bastar region recently… they are now afraid,” he said.

IANS