Describing the firing by Maoist guerrillas on his convoy Saturday as a “minor incident”, Dantewada massacre probe panel chief E.N. Rammohan said that his inquiry report would be submitted to the union home minister by April 25.
“My work is on. There has been no ambush today. I will be finishing the work as per the deadline announced by the home minister (P. Chidambaram) in parliament on Thursday last,” Mr. Rammohan, former director general Border Security Force, told IANS over telephone from Dantewada.
He declined to say more, citing “confidentiality norms.”
Describing the firing incident on Saturday, Mr. Rammohan said “a road opening party (ROP) of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) was fired at by suspected Maoists a few km away from his convoy.”
He said security forces returned the fire and the left-wing rebels fled. Mr. Rammohan said the incident occurred in Talmeta area, around 5 km from the April 6 attack site, in which 75 CRPF troopers and a state police man were killed and eight security personnel injured in an ambush and firing by Maoists.
Mr. Rammohan, a veteran of anti—militancy operations in Kashmir and the northeast, was appointed April 8 as a one-man panel to probe the Dantewada massacre.
The panel’s terms of reference include determining the sequence of events leading to the massacre and analysing and establishing the command structure of the security personnel there. “The panel will analyse the decision, command structure and hierarchy and specific levels that took the decision concerning area domination operations and led to the incident,” a government notification appointing him said.
The panel has been also asked to examine the quality of the training imparted to CRPF personnel and the details of the standard operations procedure issued to them. It will also examine the response of the security forces and the police during the ambush and the post-ambush relief and rescue operations.
The panel began its work with a meeting with CRPF director general Vikram Srivastava in New Delhi, during which it familiarised itself with the command structure at Dantewada on April 6.
For the past week, Mr. Rammohan has been touring the ambush site and nearby places. He has met civil, police and paramilitary officials, villagers and the injured troopers. According to sources, he may meet relatives of the killed personnel and injured ones before completing the probe.