New Delhi, July 4 (IBNS): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said he is deeply sorry if a civilian was killed during a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) encounter last week where 17 Maoists were killed in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district.
"If a young boy or girl or a woman, who was not involved with the CPI-Maoists, has been killed, I'm deeply sorry," Chidambaram said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.
"The CRPF has nothing to hide and fear," he said.
"Its director general has clarified the incident," he said.
At least 17 suspected Maoists' bodies were recovered after fierce encounters between the rebels and the CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh state's Basaguda under Bijapur district since June 28 night, police and officials said on June 29.
"A total of 17 were killed and six CRPF men injured," Bijapur Collector Rajat Kumar told IBNS.
"It is a remote area and thickly forested. We have to wait for a clear picture and exact number of Maoists killed," he said.
Fierce encounters took place at Basaguda in Bijapur district between the Maoists and a big contingent of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel since 1130 pm June 28 night.
The CRPF were challenged by the Maoists who had gathered in a village in the jungle, officials said.
Two groups of the CRPF had launched the operation from two sides, another report said.
According to a central government statement, at around 2330 hrs, a search party of CRPF and State police (total around 200 personnel) were fired upon by a group of armed Maoists numbering 40-45, near village Sarkeguda of PS Basaguda, in Bijapur district.
In the exchange of fire which lasted about 1 hour, six CRPF personnel were injured.
The anti-Naxal operation dragged controversies as it was reportedly said that security forces had killed villagers by terming them as Naxals.