Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Prakash Mishra also defended the STF's strategy to move in small groups in the Naxal-infested terrain and jungles as that enables crack teams to act swiftly and with stealth.

"The STF are coming up as a good force. They sometimes go on their own... We also conduct operations on our own... There is always mutual coordination between the two forces when it is required.

"It is good that the STF are undertaking special tasks themselves as it is ultimately them who need to be taking the overall control in these areas," Mishra said.
CRPF, with close to 1-lakh troops, is the lead force for anti-Naxal operations in the 10 Maoist-violence affected states of the country.
STF has been raised as a special counter-Maoist force under Chhattisgarh Police and is tasked with increasingly undertaking self-sustained operations in coordination with central forces like CRPF.
On March 11, Left-Wing ultras ambushed an STF team in the Pidmel area of Sukma district of the state, killing seven personnel and injuring a dozen others.

Mishra, who has been credited with ably tackling the Left- Wing Extremism menace in his home state of Odisha in his earlier stint as that state's DGP, said that moving in small groups in these areas was rather good strategy.

The ambushed STF squad had a strength of 49 men. "In (Naxal areas), we always move in small groups... 49 was a good number. It gives you the speed and the required  secrecy in movement but... in such an operation, there is always a grave risk of getting into an ambush or of something going wrong.

"Unfortunately, in this case (Sukma ambush), something went wrong. STF has to learn from its mistakes. We do not exactly know what information was received by the Sub- Inspector (of STF) who led the team. But what we gather is that the officer (SI and platoon commander Shankar Rao) was a very brave officer," he said.


Latest News from State News Desk