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12 CRPF personnel killed in Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh

Google Maps image shows a map of Sukma in Chhatisgarh.  

Twelve Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed when they "walked into an ambush," laid by Maoists in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district on Saturday morning. Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to reach State capital Raipur on Saturday evening to take stock of the situation. The attack against the central forces is one of the biggest in the past two years. The National Democratic Alliance government has claimed credit for reducing Maoist related violence by about 40-50 percent.

Acting CRPF Directore General Sudeep Lakhtakia told The Hindu that the troops first came under heavy fire and when they moved to take defensive positions they tripped on IEDs, which led to serial explosions. "The entire area was rigged with mines and IEDs and when the troops took cover to retaliate against the firing done by Maoists, it started exploding.""

The incident took place around 9.15 am on Saturday when more than hundred CRPF personnel were on way to provide security to a road construction party. The encounter continued for more than an hour and no rescue operation could take place as it took time for the dust to settle down, said the official. Eleven weapons and two wireless sets were also looted by the Maoists.

“A two-kilometre road from Bheji and Kokacherru was under construction and the CRPF team had gone to provide protection to it. The area falls under Sukma district, which is the last bastion of the Maoists in south Bastar,” said Mr. Lakhtakia.

Four personnel injured

Four personnel were also injured in the attack and two of them were stated to be critical.

The Bhejji area in south Bastar region is notorious for Maoist attack and many security personnel have been killed here in the past.

The DG said that the Maoists had become desperate since last year as the CRPF had increased its presence here since last year and helped locals reopen a 'haat' (market), which had been forcibly shut by Maoists.

PM condoles deaths of CRPF personnel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday tweeted that he was saddened by the Maoists ambush on a CRPF team in Sukma district of Chhattisgrah that resulted in the death of 11 security personnel.

Mr Modi also spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who has rushed to Raipur to take the stock of the situation in the evening.

The Maoist attack on the CRPF team on Saturday morning came as the team were en route to a road construction site in the Bhejji forest area.

The deceased were identified as CRPF Inspector Jagjit Singh, ASI Hira Bhatt and Narendra Kumar, head constable J.P. Vishnoi, P.R. Munde, constable M.L.Pande, Rampal Yadav, Gorakhnath, N.K.Patra, Satish Verma, K. Shankar and Suresh Kumar.

The area where the attack took place is said to be the stronghold of Maoist leader Hidma.

The attack took place hardly a week after half of the Bastar region’s top police brass, including Sukma SP, were transferred out of the region.

In a similar, meticulously planned ambush on the same day in 2014, Maoists had killed 15 jawans on the same day at Tahakwada village also in Sukma, sources said.

The Home Minister tweeted: "Deeply pained to learn of the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. The Centre is in direct communication with the State government. Those who perpetrated this incident in Sukma will be brought to justice.”

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh strongly condemned the Maoist attack and described it as a "cowardly act.""

The deceased CRPF personnel have been identified as Inspector Jagjit Singh, Assistant Sub-inspectors H B Bhatt and Narender Kumar Singh, Head Constables Jagdish Prasad Vishnoi and P.R. Minde and Constables Mangesh Pal Pandey, Rampal Singh Yadav, Goraknath, Nand Kumar Patra, Satish Kumar Verma, K. Shankar and Suresh Kumar. Constables Jaidev Parmanik and Salim are critically injured.

The CRPF is working without a regular chief for over a week now as the government has not appointed a new Director General after K. Durga Prasad retired on February 28.

In a presentation made by Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi earlier this year to Mr. Modi, it was said that the number of Maoist cadres killed in 2016 had been the highest ever in six years. Eighty four Maoist cadres were killed in 2015 and in 2016, the number swelled to 218, which was an increase of 160 %. There had also been an increase in the number of police encounters, which was 316 in 2016, compared to 237 in the same period in 2015 and the operational efficiency of central forces had increased by 45%.

(With inputs from Pavan Dahat and P. Sridhar)

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 12:49:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/11-crpf-personnel-killed-in-naxal-attack-in-chhattisgarh/article17446850.ece

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