An official who conducted the enquiry said most of the villagers from Burkapal, Chintagufa and Kasalpara were “passive participants” and provided food and shelter to the Maoists, under threat.
After the encounter was over, some armed Maoists cadre, who were injured, were provided medical aid by villagers in Kasalpara, said the official.
The official said such help from villagers was not unusual in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.
The villagers have however, denied the allegations.
“No one was in the village when the attack took place. All had gone to neighbouring forests to celebrate Biju Pondam (harvest festival)…no one from the village was involved. There was no firing from the village, when we came back, we heard the gunshots and locked ourselves inside our houses,” said Vijaya Dula, sarpanch (head) of Burkapal village, one of the three villages accused of extending help to Maoists.
Recently the Chattisgarh Police as part of its crackdown against Maoists, took into custody a former sarpanch of Chintagufa for his alleged involvement in the attack.
Maoists used villagers as human shields in Sukma: Home Ministry official
The CRPF team came under attack while it was providing protection to a road construction team. The 56-kilometre road between Dornapal and Jagargunda in Sukma has been under construction for more than two years. The tender for the construction was floated on 18 occasions as no contractor bid for the contract. Only 10 km have been constructed so far as the area is considered the stronghold of the Maoists.
The official said Sukma only had four per cent telecom connectivity and this was a major impediment during operations.
Another official said on the day of attack, CRPF personnel were outnumbered by Maoists and were shot from as close as 20 metres.
“The jawans were scattered in two groups of 36 each and further into four sub groups. Each group was at a distance of 400-500 metres from the other. The Maoists used large number of children, women and old people as a shield to advance near the road construction site. They first pinned down some jawans stationed on one side of the road by using diversionary fire and then fired at the other team on the other side,” the official said.
An official claimed that while Sukma used to be an impregnable fortress of the Maoists, security forces have been making inroads in one of their core areas and also their last bastion.