D. Chandrabhaskar Rao

Chhattisgarh attack exposes lack of preparedness by police

Ranibodili: After the gory dance of death, Ranibodili in Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh is limping back to normal. The massacre of 54 persons, including 15 police personnel, on Thursday has shattered the calm and the 400 residents will take a long time to get out of the shock. The ghastly attack on the police outpost in Ranibodili, situated 100 km from Dantewada and 65 km from Bijapur, exposed the lack of preparedness by law enforcers.

Around sunset on Friday, the funeral was held and the pyres were lit one by one. Angry relatives swore revenge against the Maoists.

"No clue"

Gotta Pandu (50), a resident, said: "We did not have a clue. The attack started around 2 a.m. on Thursday. After the three-hour bloody operation, only the bodies were left. I knew each and everyone of the special police officers killed. They did fight back but just after an hour of the fight, they ran out of ammunition for the three AK-47s, some SLRs and .303 rifles. They could not escape death."

Those who tried to escape were overpowered and their throats were slit.

Until 1 a.m., the SPOs were on their vigil, spread out on the rooftops of two buildings. They had just got down and settled in one building for a few hours of sleep when the attack began.

Most inhabitants in the 150-odd houses here were from the Moriya tribe, said to be loyal to the Maoists. There was no help from them when the attack came.

The Maoists came with a plan, armed with rocket-launchers and directional mines, smoke bombs to confuse people and enough small arms, apart from knives and ladders. Some scaled the walls while some got on to the rooftops.

Patil informs Lok Sabha

New Delhi Special Correspondent reports:

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that the Centre, in association with the State Governments, was fully determined to combat the challenge posed by the "naxalite menace."

Making a statement on Thursday's naxalite attack in Chhattisgarh, he said search operations were continuing as there was the possibility of the surrounding areas being mined by the naxalites.

Also, the Centre had promised the State Government further help if required.