Sukma: Four CRPF personnel were killed and three others injured after their colleague opened fire at them in a camp of the paramilitary force in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Monday, a police official said.
The incident took place at around 3:15am in the camp of the Central Reserve Police Force's (CRPF) 50th battalion in Linganpalli village under Maraiguda police station of the area of the district, located nearly 400 km from the state capital Raipur, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said.
As per preliminary information, constable Reetesh Ranjan fired at his colleagues with his service weapon, an AK-47 rifle, the official said.
The incident is reported to have taken place around 3:25 AM in the 'C' company of the 50th CRPF battalion.
Another officer said the accused jawan was to begin his sentry post duty from 4 am, but soon after getting ready he sprayed bullets on his colleagues who were sleeping.
This preliminary information was collected from other jawans present in the camp. More information about the incident and the exact chain of events of over the last few days is being ascertained under the Court of Inquiry (CoI) initiated by the CRPF, he said.
"The local police has begun an investigation into the case and all legal actions will follow. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has ordered an inquiry into the incident to ascertain the cause of the incident and suggest remedial measures.
"Prima facie, it seems that due to some emotional stress leading to sudden psychological disbalance, constable Reetesh Ranjan lost his control and in a fit of rage opened fire on his colleagues," a CRPF spokesperson said.
The paramilitary force, which has deployed over 25 battalions in the state for anti-Naxal operations, has recently issued a communication to all its formations to identify personnel who are either under depression or are stressed, and undertake appropriate counseling for them to curb suicide and fratricide like incidents.
"Easy availability of a firearm to a personnel who either ends his life or attacks his colleagues is a big challenge for security forces. Different solutions are being looked to check this issue, but a perfect one is still to be found," a senior CRPF officer said.
The seven injured personnel were immediately shifted to a hospital in nearby Bhadrachalam area of neighbouring Telangana, where doctors declared four of them dead on arrival, the official said.
Those killed were identified as constables Rajmani Kumar Yadav, Rajib Mondal, Dhanji and Dharmendra Kumar, he said, adding that three other injured personnel were being treated at the hospital.
Constable Ranjan was immediately held and his interrogation is underway, he said.
In a similar incident of fratricide in January this year, a CRPF jawan was killed and another one injured after their colleague opened fire at them in their camp in the state's Bastar district, police earlier said.
The offender had then tried to commit suicide by shooting himself, they said.