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  India   All India  25 Apr 2017  25 CRPF jawans killed in Sukma Naxal strike

25 CRPF jawans killed in Sukma Naxal strike

Published : Apr 25, 2017, 1:43 am IST
Updated : Apr 25, 2017, 7:24 am IST

CM Raman Singh cut short a visit to Delhi and rushed back to Raipur.

Injured CRPF being brought to Raipur for treatment on Monday follwing a Maoist attack at Burkapal near Chintagufa in Bastar. (Photo: AP)
 Injured CRPF being brought to Raipur for treatment on Monday follwing a Maoist attack at Burkapal near Chintagufa in Bastar. (Photo: AP)

Bhopal/New Delhi: Around 300 Maoist guerrillas, armed with sophisticated weapons, on Monday mounted a deadly attack on a CRPF patrol party guarding road workers in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, leaving 25 jawans dead and eight others wounded.

This is the biggest strike on security forces by Maoists since April 6, 2010 when 76 CRPF personnel were massacred in Bastar — one of the worst-hit regions by Left-wing extremism in the country.

At least seven CRPF personnel, including a commander-ranked officer, were missing in Monday’s attack that took place at Burkapal village in Dornapal block of the district at around 12.55 pm.

Bastar DIG P. Sunder Raj said, “We are still awaiting detail reports (of the encounter).” A CRPF spokesman at Raipur told this newspaper that the Maoists also looted some weapons of the slain jawans.

The 8 injured jawans — four of them critical — were evacuated from the encounter site by choppers to Raipur for treatment.

Reinforcements, including CoBRA commandos of the CRPF and its other units, have been rushed to the scene from the nearest camp of the paramilitary force, officials said.

The CRPF jawans of the 74th battalion were conducting an area domination operation to provide security to workers engaged in the construction of a seven-km road when the Maoists ambushed them.

Police sources said 99 CRPF jawans had been divided into two groups. The first group leading the area domination operation suffered the maximum casualties. The second group walked into the ambush when it tried to come to the rescue of those trapped.

“We had left our camp at Burkapal in the morning. We noticed some villagers were tracking us all through the route. Later, around 300-350 Maoists, including women cadres, attacked us from all sides. We soon regrouped and returned the fire”, injured CRPF constable S.K. Mohmmad said.

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“The guerrillas were armed with sophisticated weapons such as AK 47, SLR and Insas assault rifles”, he said.

Police sources said that the Naxals even used under-barrel grenade launchers, looted from security forces earlier, in the attack.

Chief minister Raman Singh who was in Delhi to attend a Niti Aayog meeting cut short his visit and rushed back to the state.

“I am extremely distressed. Naxals targeted security forces to stop road construction in Bastar, particularly in Sukma”, Mr Singh told reporters at Raipur.

He convened an emergency meeting of senior home department and police officers later in the evening to review the situation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the attack 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,” he tweeted. 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was saddened by the attack and was sending his deputy Hansraj Ahir to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation. “Extremely pained to know about the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My tributes to the martyrs and condolences to their families,” he said. 

Mr Singh said the government has taken the attack as a “challenge”. President Pranab Mukherjee also condemned the attack.

Tags: crpf, maoists, sukma attack, rajnath singh, pranab mukherjee
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi