Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Orissa says attack due to 'tactical error' of Greyhound jawans

Bhubaneswar (PTI): The Orissa government on Tuesday attributed the Maoist attack in Malkangiri on a contingent of an elite anti-Naxal force to a tactical "error" by the unit.

Orissa Home Secretary T K Mishra, said the attack could have been avoided had the jawans either avoided water route while covering long routes or sailed in groups.

Stating that one more Greyhound jawan was rescued from forests near Balimela reservoir on Tuesday morning, Mishra told reporters that the incident resulted after the tactical "blunder" which made the vessel an easy target for Maoists.

"It was a blunder on the part of the people who sailed in one boat instead of in splits," Mishra said adding that the jawans (Greyhound) also violated their own guidelines which suggested avoidance of water route while moving for a combing operation.

Denying that the boat was overloaded, Mishra said timing of the journey was also faulty.

"They began journey at 8.45 am which was not suitable for undertaking movement in highly naxal-infested areas," he said adding that the jawans could have started early in the morning.

Rejecting allegations that Orissa police which arranged one boat for ferrying the jawans, was responsible for Sunday's incident, Mishra said, "We simply assist them. Greyhound authorities take decision during joint operations."

He made it clear that Orissa police only provided logistic support and information when Greyhound force came for joint operation in the state.

According to figures given by Mishra, 35 persons were still missing after rescue of 30 people and recovery of one body.

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