Speaking exclusively to CNN-News18, Dr Raman Singh said that the road opening was delayed on the fateful morning, leaving police clueless about the presence of 200-250 Naxals in the area.
“Us din road opening mein thodi der ho gayi thi. ROP Jo subah Hona tha wo hone mein vilambh hua (There was delay in the road opening ceremony that day). Such incidents can be prevented 100% if we go out after ROP,” Singh said. He emphasised the need for more caution. “Hum agar aur zyada savdhani barat te to shayad ye ghatna Nahi Hoti (Had we been more careful, this tragedy could have been averted),” Dr Singh said.
He also hinted that overconfidence on part of the police led to the lapse.
“Roz media ki team jaa rahi thi to mujhe lagta hai ye log (police) thode abhyasth ho gaye the. Thoda poorva anuman hona zaruri hai ki kahan Naxals ki team hai. Bina jankari ke nahi jaana chahiye (Since media teams were regularly going there, I thought the police would have been prepared. They should have known about the presence of Naxals. They should not have gone in without information,” he said.
Achyutanandan Sahu and three policemen were killed when they were ambushed by Naxals on the Arhanpur-Nelabhaya road on Tuesday.
The Chhattisgarh CM said that post the incident, clear instructions have been given to police to not allow any media team in the interiors without police protection.
When asked if the DD crew was attacked because they travelled with the police, Dr Singh said, “It is a Catch-22 situation. But now I have given clear instructions. We will not let media go without protection. I have ordered that no one should be allowed to go without protection. It will be a huge risk if media goes unaccompanied,” he told CNN-News18.
However, the CM refused to order action against the district police. He said that government was at war with the Naxals and these incidents should be seen in that light. “Is ghatna mein pehle blast ki ghatna 700 meter door hui, fir firing. Hum anuman Nahi laga sakte ki Kahan blast Hoga. Kahan IEd hai, ye anuman lagana asambhav hai. This is a war which will go on but we will eventually win,” he said.
Slamming the Congress party for criticising him on the Naxal front, Singh said, “Congress sirf rajneeti Karti hai. Ye samasya unki banayi hui hai jiska samadhan hum dhoondh rahe Hain (The Congress is busy politicising the matter. The Congress is responsible for the creation of this problem and we are busy finding a solution to it).”
Dr Raman Singh is seeking a fourth term as Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and expressed confidence that if voted back to power he will be able to ensure a peaceful Bastar in two to three years.