Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday vowed to take "revenge" for Tuesday's Naxal ambush in which 15 security personnel and a civilian were killed in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, saying the attack could be an attempt to disrupt the Lok Sabha polls.
"We will definitely take revenge," he told reporters in Jagdalpur.
The home minister, who is on a day-long visit to Chhattisgarh to review the situation arising out of the killing of 11 CRPF personnel, four Chhattisgarh policemen and one civilian in Sukma district, said the probe into incident will be conducted by the National Investigation Agency.
Asked how the "revenge" will be taken, Shinde said like in the past the central and state forces will jointly conduct anti-Naxal operations and hunt down the Maoists involved in the ambush.
"We know where they are," he said.
The home minister said the incident could be an attempt to disrupt the general election beginning April 7, but said authorities would ensure that the polls will be as successful as the assembly elections held in Chhattisgarh late last year.
"It could be an attempt to threaten the Lok Sabha polls. We will conduct the election as successfully as we have done during the assembly polls. We will provide adequate forces," he said.
Earlier, Shinde and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh paid tribute to the martyrs at Jagdalpur in Bastar district.
Shinde arrived at the Raipur airport and held a brief meeting with Raman Singh and State Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra over the incident and later went to Jagdalpur.
Tributes were paid to the martyrs at the police parade ground in Jagdalpur, the administrative headquarter of Bastar district this morning, senior police officers told Bhasha/PTI in Raipur on Wednesday.
Sushilkumar Shinde, Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt members of the state cabinet paid their respect to the martyrs at the wreath-laying ceremony.
Immediately afterwards, Shinde and Singh left for his office, where the Union Home Minister would hold a meeting with the officials and review the situation.
Meanwhile, police officials in Sukma said a combing operation has been launched to trace the Naxals involved in Tuesday's attack.
In a brazen daytime attack, as many as 16 people -- 11 CRPF personnel, four state police and one civilian -- were gunned down by Naxals yesterday in Jeerum Nallah area of Sukma district, 400 kilometres from the state capital Raipur.
Chhattisgarh government has ordered a high-level departmental inquiry into the Naxal attack.
The home minister said contrary to reports, there was no prior specific intelligence input about the Naxal attack in Sukma.
"There were intelligence inputs ...two-three times... but it was not specific," he said.
Shinde said there were reports that the CPI(Maoist) had been weakened and the cadres of the outfit were scared due to presence of security forces and continuous anti-Naxal operations.
The home minister said he had held a detailed discussion with Chief Minister Raman Singh, Governor Shekhar Dutt and other senior officials and reviewed the situation in Chhattisgarh.
"This is the second similar incident. We have already discussed it. We have to follow the previous instructions. Some time mistakes do take place. But we have full confidence that the security forces will do the needful to avoid such incidents and arrest those involved in the attack," he said.
Asked about deployment of forces during the general elections, Shinde said the Naxal problem exists in Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh as well as some other states.
"We will also have to deploy forces in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka. We have to provide forces as per the security requirements," he said.