Bijapur Naxal Attack: Some 10-12 Maoists are also believed to have died in the fierce gunbattle that ensued. A total of 31 security personnel were also injured.
Bodies of 17 security personnel were recovered from the jungles of Bijapur in Chhattisgarh, raising the number of deaths to 22 in the worst ever attack by Maoists in four years that resulted from an ambush by some 400 insurgents who surrounded the jawans from three sides in an area devoid of vegetation and rained on them machinegun fire as well as IEDs for several hours.
CRPF Director General Kuldeep Singh, who was directed by Home Minister Amit Shah to visit the state, acknowledged that his personnel were “surprised and ambushed” during the attack Saturday that lasted several hours. Other officials in the know of the developments said the forces may have been waylaid by the Naxals.
Out of the total 22 fatalities, the CRPF lost eight men including seven CoBRA commandos while one jawan is from the Bastariya battalion, eight from DRG and five from Special Task Force. A CRPF Inspector is still missing, they said on Sunday.
Some 10-12 Maoists are also believed to have died in the fierce gunbattle that ensued. A total of 31 security personnel were also injured.
Helicopters, which were requisitioned to evacuate the injured personnel, could make the first landing only after 5 PM on Saturday when the gunfire had ended, an official said.
The security personnel took cover behind large trees and kept firing till they ran out of ammunition, he added.
At one location, he added, seven bodies of the troops were recovered and the tree trunks bore bullet marks, indicating that a fierce gun battle took place in the area.
About two dozen sophisticated assault weapons of the personnel killed in the encounter were also looted by the Maoists even as security officials said the search of the area is still on and details are being collected from the ground.
The officials said that an intelligence input had been received that a most dreaded Naxal commander Madvi Hidma was present at Tarrem, an area in bordering Bijapur-Sukhma districts of Chhatisgarh.
Immediately, forces from five different areas — Tarrem (760), Usur (200), Pamed (195) from Bijapur district, Nimpa (483) and Naraspuram (420) from Sukhama – set out on the intervening night of April 2 and 3 and converged at Junagada where they were ambushed by Naxals in a planned manner at 10 AM on Saturday the officials said.
The gunfight continued till late afternoon and the forces could only evacuate the injured after 5 PM through a helicopter.
Five bodies were recovered on Saturday while the remaining 17 were found on Sunday. All the 22 bodies were taken to Bijapur where medical formalities would be completed followed by a wreath-laying ceremony on Monday. The dead included one sub-inspector, head constables, constables and assistant constables.
Mr Shah, who cancelled his public meetings in poll-bound Assam, chaired a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation. Mr Shah also spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. He condoled the death of the security personnel in the encounter and said their valour will never be forgotten.
The authorities will proceed its battle in opposition to the enemies of peace and progress, the house minister stated.
Kuldeep Singh, the CRPF chief who arrived within the state capital instantly after the bloodbath, stated that “lessons are learnt” from each incident and they’ll see and analyse “what changes have been brought by the Naxals” to successfully counter them.
He stated the Maoists are pissed off and troubled due to the induction of 5 new battalions within the Bastar area of the state just lately and the creation of recent bases in distant areas like Basaguda, Silger, Jagargunda and Minpa. He stated this course of will likely be accelerated now to launch extra severe operations in opposition to them.
Madvi Hidma alias Hidmanna, who carries a money reward of Rs 40 lakh on his head, is a homegrown Naxal who heads the primary battalion of Maoists lively within the Sukma-Bijapur area in south Bastar.
Hidma, in his early 30’s, is believed to have led many main operations in opposition to the safety forces in Bastar.
He can also be suspected to be behind the March 11 assault in Sukma district of Chattisgarh wherein 25 CRPF personnel have been killed and likewise May 2013 Jeeram Valley ambush on the Congress convoy wherein about 32 individuals together with many state Congress leaders have been killed.
He can also be believed to be behind the Dantewada ambush in April 2010 wherein about 76 CRPF troopers have been killed.
President Ram Nath Kovind expressed deep anguish over the dying of the safety personnel. “The killing of the security personnel while battling Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh is a matter of deep anguish. My condolences to the bereaved families. The nation shares their pain and will never forget this sacrifice,” he tweeted.
The worst Naxal assault until date is the 2010 strike on safety forces the place a complete of 76 CRPF and state police personnel have been killed on the Chintalnar space of Dantewada.
The safety personnel have been having bloody battles across the Bastar area of Chhattisgarh that contains distant districts like Sukma, Bijapur, Kondagaon, Kanker, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Dantewada and Jagdalpur.
Various incidents have taken place in these areas together with the killing of Congress leaders like VC Shukla, Mahendra Karma at Darbha Gati in 2013. This incident noticed the dying of 8 CRPF personnel and 24 others.
In March of 2013, 25 CRPF personnel have been gunned down within the Sukhma space and the identical space noticed the killing of 25 CRPF personnel close to Chintagufa.
The Maoist motion dates again to 1967 when armed peasants revolted in Naxalbari and later the “red” cadres of the CPI (Maoist) led the agitation claiming authentic socio-economic rights for tribal and locals.