New Delhi: Months after a CRPF encounter in Chhattisgarh's Basuguda triggered a controversy; the paramilitary has revised its operational procedures making it necessary for troops to conduct prior reconnaissance of the area to be covered.

Troops acting as 'trackers' will alert their base command about the presence of Naxal cadres as well as civilians before the start of an operation under the new standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The CRPF has deployed 80,000 personnel for anti-Naxal operations in various districts. The force headquarters here has also sent instructions to all its force commanders on the ground to diligently adhere to these new guidelines.

"The new measures have been intimated to the field formations. It is not that these measures were earlier not there in our manual but value addition in operational tactics and strategies is the hallmark of good security forces," a top official of the paramilitary said.

At least 19 people were killed in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh that also left six CRPF jawans wounded on the intervening night of June 28-29.

The gunfight, which took place close to the forests of Silger, an uncharted Maoist zone between the Naxal hotbed of Jagargunda and Basaguda in Bijapur district, was part of a joint operation by over 300 CRPF and state police personnel.

Cross-fire between Naxals

The encounter had triggered a controversy as it was alleged that innocent villagers were killed during the cross-fire between Naxals and security forces.

The official said that two more persons, out of the total 19 killed in the encounter, have been identified as Naxalites by Chhattisgarh Police. Earlier, seven of those killed were identified as Naxals, according to local police records.

The new SOPs also mandate that the help of technical gadgets to ascertain human presence in these areas should also be relied upon as well as old procedures should be followed diligently by field commanders before and during an operation in Naxal-hit areas.

An in-house enquiry in the encounter and the role of CRPF officials is also underway at present.

The force has also recently written to the Union Home Ministry to grant sanction to it for procurement of "long range" night vision devices which can give a better tactical eye to the troops during night.


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