New Delhi: In a deadly ambush by Maoists, 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel of the 74th battalion were killed in the encounter that took place yesterday in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma. The encounter that began in the afternoon at 12:25 PM lasted nearly for four hours. If reports are to be believed, the CRPF jawans were targeted using IED bombs. The jawans were deployed in the Chintagufa to oversee the road construction work being undertaken in the region. It has also been reported that the weapons of the jawans have been looted by the attackers. According to the reports of leading daily The Times Of India, the survivors couldn’t call for help as the rebels took away their radio sets.
Condemning the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said,”Attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly and deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
“We are proud of the valour of our CRPF personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain. Condolences to their families”, he added.
To review the security condition in the Maoist-dominated belt in the state, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh called an emergency meeting yesterday cancelling all his engagements planned in New Delhi. As per the reports of India Today, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also called a meeting of top officials to review the security state in the Naxal-affected regions of central India.
Apart from Raman Singh and Mehrishi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh instructed MoS Home Hansraj Ahir to visit the encounter site at the earliest. “Extremely pained to know about killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My tributes to the martyrs and condolences to their families. Spoke to MoS Home Hansraj Ahir about attack in Sukma, he is going to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation,” he said.
Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Raipur, where he would hold talks with Chief Minister Raman Singh and other senior officials.
While talking to media, Sher Mohammad, the jawan who survived the Maoist attack revealed that nearly 300 militants fired at the jawans. The number of CRPF personnel present at the site of the encounter was not more than 150, the jawan claimed. “They were around 300 and we were around 150, we kept firing. I shot 3-4 Naxals in the chest,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
“The CRPF jawans launched a befitting retaliation against the aggression shown by Naxals. We killed hoards among them. I personally shot dead many Naxals. Some among their women wing – Black Militia cadres were also shot dead by us,”Sher Mohammad claimed.
Sukma, considered as a red-zone, is one of the hotbeds of Maoist militancy. In a similar attack in the district last year, 12 personnel of CRPF’s 219th battalion were killed by the Naxalites.