Very important lessons here for the police officers. They need to learn to train with their constables and fight shoulder to shoulder.
Indian Police Service (IPS) and state police service officers will have to undergo vigorous training with the jawans - live with them - treat them as family and then - fight shoulder to shoulder. Then the police constables will know they can beat back an ambush and inflict higher costs on the Maoists.On the day that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) deliberated upon the use of air power (strictly in self defence), the Naxalites embarked on a bloody mission in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
They had prior information about a 40 member police patrol operating in the area. More than 200 Maoists laid an ambush and butchered the police.
The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik earlier in the day spelt out the rules of engagement in case of use of air power.
1. The IAF would only fire in retalliation.
2. The firing would have to be authorised by the captain of the helicopter.
3. The Garud Commandoes of the IAF will protect helicopters.
4. Only small arms would be used - no area domination weapons.
5. Due care would be taken to avoid collateral damage.
There have been instances of Maoists opening unprovoked fire on the IAF during a casualty evacuation (in which the IAF lost an engineer) and on election duty. Maoists have also fired at IAF helicopters from the ground trying to bring them down. The IAF sought permission to fire back.
Rights activists are bending over backwards to oppose this. But I wonder why these activists lose their voice when Maoists kill innocent people and security personnel. The Maoists are no revolutionaries. They are cold blooded murderers.
Oct 05: Maoists beheaded Inspector Francis Induwar in Jharkhand after failing to secure the release of three top ideologues - Kobad Gandhy, Chandra Bhushan Yadav and Chatradhar Mahato.
Sep 30: Naxalites set ablaze Gram Panchayat offices at Korchi and Belgaon in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
Sep 26: Naxals kill BJP MP from Balaghat Baliram Kashyap's sons at Pairaguda village in Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh).
Sep 4: Naxals kill four villagers in a forest in Aaded village in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district.
Jul 31: Two persons, including a special police officer (SPO), killed by Naxals in Bijapur district.
July 27: Six people killed when Naxals trigger a landmine blast at Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.
July 23: A 40-year-old tribal killed by Naxalites at Ettapalli taluka in Gadchiroli district.
July 18: Naxalites kill a villager in Bastar and in a separate incident torch a vehicle engaged in road construction work in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
June 23, 2009: A group of motorcycle-borne armed Naxal rebels open fire on Lakhisarai district court premises in Bihar and free four of their comrades including the self-style Zonal Commander of Ranchi.
June 16, 2009: Maoists kill 11 police officers in a landmine attack followed by armed assault. In a separate attack, four policemen killed and two others seriously injured when Maoists ambush them at Beherakhand in Palamau district.
June 13: Naxals launch two landmine and bomb attacks in a small town close to Bokaro, killing 10 policemen and injuring several others.
June 10: Nine policemen including CRPF troops and officers ambushed by Maoists during a routine patrol in Saranda jungles in Jharkhand.
May 22: Maoists kill 16 policemen in the jungles of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.
April 22: Maoists hijack a train with at least 300 people on board in Jharkhand and force it to Latehar district before fleeing.
April 13: 10 paramilitary troops killed in eastern Orissa when Maoists attack a bauxite mine in Koraput district.
July 16, 2008: 21 policemen killed when a landmine blast hits a police van in Malkangiri district of Orissa.
June 29: Maoists attack a boat on the Balimela reservoir in Orissa carrying four anti-Naxalite police officials and 60 Greyhound commandos, killing 38 troops.
Feb 16, 2008: A group of 50 rebels including women cadre raid a police training school, a police station and an armoury in Orissa killing 12 policemen and leaving four wounded.
Sept 7, 2007: Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy and his wife N Rajyalakshmi, escape unhurt while three Congress workers killed in a Maoist attack in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh.
July 10: Naxalites attack a police team with light machine guns and mortar bombs in a dense forest area of Chhattisgarh, killing at least 24 security personnel.
July 1: Nine persons, including five policemen, killed and as many wounded as CPI-Maoist rebels carry out simultaneous attacks on a police station and an outpost in Sasaram in Bihar's Rohtas district and flee with arms and ammunition.
Apr 28: Five security personnel killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoist rebels in Michgaon village of Kanker district, about 175 km south of Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
Mar 16: Maoists attack a police post in remote jungles of Rani Bodli in Chattisgarh with guns, hand grenades and gasoline bombs, killing at least 49 people.
March 5: Naxalites shot dead Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Lok Sabha MP Sunil Kumar Mahato. Two of his bodyguards and a party colleague also killed in the attack when they were witnessing a football match at a village in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.
Three quick points
1. Police training and tactics is very poor. Time and again the Maoists ambush them - kill them - and disappear with their weapons. Not just patrols but even attacking the police in their barracks, police stations and guarded compounds.
2. Naxals have a better intelligence network. The fact that they know the timing of police patrols, area of operation and then lay an ambush - means they know not only police standard operating procedures but also timings and tactics.
3. Police officers should lead from the front: Both police and army jawans come from the same stock - same villages and towns. In the army soldiers do better because of better training, a strong sense of pride in the honour of the paltan (battalion) and because army officers lead from the front - not JCOs alone.
Claiming 15 Maoists were killed and losing 17 men is not victory in operations. it is defeat. Once again India has been defeated by the Maoists. HOW MUCH LONGER ? The police top brass need to answer this.