The Ministry of Home Affairs will set up a fact-finding inquiry committee to investigate the Sukma massacre in which 25 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed by Maoists in an ambush in Chhattisgarh, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The fact-finding committee will be separate from the CRPF’s own court of inquiry and will examine, among other matters, the force’s Standard Operating Procedure.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh hosted a high-level meeting in his house on Monday night to discuss the massacre and the situation in Kashmir. It was attended by the home secretary, the director general of the CRPF, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and the national security advisor.
While the CRPF’s own court of inquiry is a routine procedure that takes place after every such incident, the fact-finding committee is likely to be empowered by the ministry to examine the actions of the force in Chhattisgarh and fix accountability. It will be headed either by a brigadier-level officer who is currently a security advisor at the ministry’s Naxal Management Division, or a former director general-level officer. It is also expected to finish its inquiry within a month.
The massacre, which was carried out while the troops were guarding workers constructing a road in the Burkapal-Chintagufa area (pictured above) of the Bastar region, had also left six jawans injured and had prompted the home minister to say the Centre would review its strategy to deal with Left-wing extremism.
The Maoists, on the other hand, issued a statement after the attack, saying the killings were carried out in retaliation to CRPF men sexually abusing tribal women in the region, and that it was not a class war. “These attacks are retaliatory, defensive, to defeat anti-people policies and to take forward the pro-people struggle...Bhejji and Chintagufa-Burkapal attacks should be seen as [retaliatory] attacks for the dignity and respect of tribal women. These attacks are being carried out to liberate the tribal people in conflict areas from the inhuman atrocities they facing from the security forces,” they said.