Top CRPF and Chhattisgarh police officials have questioned the conduct of six IAF personnel who left a wounded police man in a chopper after it crash landed, and chose to return safely to a camp on Friday. The incident took place in Sukma district, when Maoists fired at the MI-17 chopper. The state police wireless operator was hit by bullets during the encounter with Maoists.
Senior officials in the state police and the CRPF, not ready to be identified, said the incident has made them skeptical of IAF personnel’s conduct as six of them, including a couple of commandos having LMGs, left an injured state police radio operator behind and, instead, tried to secure themselves first which is against the very ethos of the forces.
However, Chhattisgarh DGP Ram Niwas told DNA over phone that whatever decision the IAF personnel took must have been taken in good faith as it was taken on the spot, where situation is often different from what is reported or perceived by others not present there. “We appreciate their (IAF personnel) job. Based on their information we launched an operation and managed to rescue our man,” he said.
After unofficially denying charges of leaving behind an injured policeman, the IAF finally responded officially on Saturday evening. IAF spokesperson Sqdn Leader Priya Joshi, in an emailed statement, said that on approaching the area of evacuation, the helicopter descended to land when it was fired upon, resulting in extensive damage to the helicopter and injury to a “CRPF personnel”, radio operator present on board.
It furtherZ said that after successfully landing the helicopter, the crew assessed the threat situation and condition of the “injured CRPF Jawan” and decided to seek immediate medical help for the injured personnel who was immobilised and also to secure the helicopter.
“The crew reached the CRPF camp at Chintagufa and informed them of the exact location which was then communicated to the search party (CRPF Cobra Team) helping them reach the location. The CRPF Cobra Team thereafter reached the spot and secured the helicopter. Since the injured CRPF jawan could not be moved due to injuries suffered, he was airlifted in the morning today from Chintalgufa to Jagdalpur and from Jagdalpur to Raipur by a special IAF aircraft,” the statement said adding that an inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
The IAF statement, however, has shocked both the CRPF and state police officials as the injured radio operator was not from the CRPF but the state police.