Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 4
The bullet-riddled bodies of 17 more jawans were recovered today in the jungles of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, taking to 22 the toll in yesterday’s encounter as around 400 Maoists ambushed security personnel during an anti-Naxal operation. One jawan is still missing while around 30 have been injured.
The police had on Saturday said five security personnel were killed in the encounter while 18 were missing.
Read also : Naxalites drew jawans into trap, used LMGs, IEDs
A massive search operation had been launched in Bijapur-Sukma areas of Chhattisgarh, said officials in the security establishment.
The anti-Naxal operation was launched by a strong contingent of about 1,500 troops drawn from the CRPF’s specialised jungle warfare unit CoBRA, a few from its regular battalions, a unit of its Bastariya battalion, the Chhattisgarh Police-affiliated District Reserve Guard (DRG) and others.
It was a “search and destroy” operation along the border of Bijapur-Sukma districts around noon yesterday after they got inputs about the presence of Maoists, the officials said. A senior official said at least 400 Naxals led by the most wanted Maoist commander and leader of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion number 1, Hidma, and his associate Sujatha are suspected to be behind the ambush.
The area where the ambush took place is considered to be a stronghold of the Left-wing ultras as the terrain is difficult and has a very few camps of security forces. Of the 22 fatalities, the CRPF has lost eight men—seven are CoBRA commandos while one personnel is from the Bastariya Battalion. A CRPF jawan is still missing, they added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a high-level security review meeting and discussed with top officials what went wrong that led to the casualties.
Shah, cutting short his election campaign schedule, reached Delhi in the evening and held the review meeting at his residence, where Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Intelligence Bureau Director Arvind Kumar and other senior officials of the ministry and the CRPF were present.
Earlier, Shah spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and assured him of all possible help from the Centre. He also directed CRPF Director General Kuldiep Singh to visit Chhattisgarh to assess the situation.
Talking to the media in Guwahati, Shah said a befitting reply would be given to the Naxal elements at an appropriate time. “We will not tolerate this bloodshed. A befitting reply will be given at an appropriate time,” he said.
PM, Sonia salute martyrs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today led the salutations for the 22 martyred security personnel and said their sacrifices would not go in vain. “My thoughts are with the families of those martyred,” the PM said. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also issued a statement bowing to the martyrs and pledged unity with the government to combat Naxalism.
Red terror: 14 of 27 Chhattisgarh dists hit by Naxal violence
- March 23, 2021: 5 DRG personnel killed as Maoists blow up their bus in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh
- March 21, 2020: 17 security personnel killed in an ambush in Minpa, Sukma district
- April 9, 2019: BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi, four security personnel killed as their vehicle is blown up in Dantewada
- April 24, 2017: 25 CRPF personnel killed in an ambush in Burkapal area of Sukma district
- March 2017: 12 CRPF jawans killed in Sukma dist
- Nov 2016: 2 CRPF jawans injured in a pressure bomb blast in the dense forest of Sukma district
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