Got it wrong on anti-mine vehicle: Home
Three days after a landmine blast by Naxalites in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh left 24 CRPF personnel dead, the Union Home Ministry said it had "overestimated" the strength of the newly-procured "Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV)".
Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that the Naxals had triggered two blasts in quick succession. An NSG team of bomb experts is believed to have figured out that an improvised explosives device (IED) was triggered soon after the landmine exploded. The intensity of the blast was so strong that the MPV was thrown 20 ft up in the air and 90 feet away from the site of the explosion. The blast left a 10X8 ft deep crater.
On the other hand, CRPF officials have said the MPVs, designed to carry only 12 people, was carrying 24 people at the time of explosion. "Since the vehicle was supposed to be mine-protected, it was felt that people would be safe inside," they said.
It is also believed that all state police and central paramilitary forces, operating in Naxal-affected areas, have been instructed to change their operational tactics.
To begin with, Road Opening Parties (ROP) have been recommended, so that landmines and IEDs can be detected before hand. The ROPs are frequently used in Jammu and Kashmir.
They forces have also been asked not to travel in a single vehicle during movements as well as maintain a standard distance between each other. "If one of them is under attack, others can come and retaliate," Ministry officials said.
The forces have also been asked to use different routes during movements.
It can be noted that during the last conference of the chief ministers, several of chief ministers had demanded that the MHA frame a unified strategy to combat Naxalites. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had even announced the formation of a high-level committee headed by him and comprising chief ministers of all Naxalite-infested states for framing the strategy. The committee, however, is yet to meet even once.
Von: 07 September 2005, http://www.indianexpress.com, by SUDHI RANJAN SEN