Mumbai: The controversial Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Gadchiroli district, Shailesh Kale has been suspended because of not following the standard procedures that led to the naxalite attack in the district near Korchi, leaving 15 policemen and a civilian dead.
Exactly a year after India’s security forces gunned down 40 Naxalites in a jungle near Bhamragarh in Gadchiroli district, the insurgents struck back on May 1 this year, killing 15 soldiers and a driver in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. The Naxalites also torched 27 machines and vehicles. The attack, which comes close on the heels of the assassination of BJP legislator Bhima Mandavi in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, serves as yet another stark warning of the group’s growing stronghold outside its traditional regions in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar.
The Naxals were observing a week-long protest to mark the death anniversary of 40 cadres, who were gunned down by the state police in a jungle of Rela-Kasnasur in south Gadchiroli. The Naxals torched vehicles belonged to private contractors at a road construction site in Kurkheda in Gadchiroli and targeted the local C-60 commandos in the IED blast
The suspension of Kale, the SDPO of Kurkheda in Gadchiroli district, was announced in the Legislative Council by the Maharashtra minister of state for Home, Deepak Kesarkar. It was alleged that the Standard operating procedures (SOPs) were not followed in this case which led to the naxalite attack.
The SDPO, Kale had apparently ordered his staff to travel to a location in the naxal-hit district. On way to the spot, the police personnel, who were travelling in a private vehicle, came under attack from the red rebels. As many as 15 policemen and the private vehicle’s driver were killed when Maoists triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) blast.
The minister Kesarkar made the announcement about Kale’s suspension after the NCP member Prakash Gajbhiye raised the issue of naxalite menace through a calling attention in the upper house on Friday.
While announcing the suspension of the police officer, the minister said the department has found that standard operating procedures were not followed. There are laid down procedures and none of it was followed. “We will suspend the official today itself,” the minister said in the House and announced that one family member of each jawan who martyred in the operation would be given a government job soon.