Chhattisgarh: 22 security personnel killed in Maoist attack
Raipur, April 4, 2021
In a major Maoist attack, at least 22 security personnel were killed and 20 more injured in a fierce gun battle with a platoon of over 300 members of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, officials said.
The gun battle took place on Saturday.
As the identity of the security personnel is yet to be confirmed, both the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) confirmed that 22 bodies were recovered in a massive search operation.
Of the 22 personnel, nine belonged to the CRPF, while the remaining were from the state police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Special Task Force (STF).
Five of the 22 bodies of the security personnel were recovered on Saturday and 17 more bodies were found on Sunday after a massive search operation was launched by a joint team of the CRPF, DRG and the STF from early Sunday. The Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) is still on.
These 17 security personnel, including seven from the CRPF, were missing since the operation concluded after a nearly nine hour-long gunfight between the Maoists and a joint team of the CRPF's elite CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) unit and Chhattisgarh police's DRG and STF.
The 20 injured personnel were stated to be out of danger and recuperating in hospital.
The officials confirmed that at least two bodies of Maoists were also visible at the spot near Tekulgudem village under Tarrem police station where the shootout began at noon on Saturday in a deep forested interior area. There are reports of heavy damage to the Maoists too.
Sharing fresh inputs received from the spot, CRPF Inspector General (Operations) C. G. Arora told IANS that the bodies of 22 security personnel had been recovered so far from the spot.
"Besides the five bodies recovered on Saturday, the identity of the other 17 bodies is yet to be ascertained. Search operation is still on," Arora said.
Asked about the loss of so many lives, the official said it was a dense forested area where the incident took place and a core Maoist region.
"This is an interior place inside the jungle where access is very limited."
Union Minister Amit Shah has cut short his poll campaign in Assam and is returning to Delhi in the backdrop of the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh -- an ambush similar to the one executed by the Maoists in Tadmetla in 2010 and Minpa in 2020 in which 76 CRPF and 17 security personnel were killed, respectively.
Shah, earlier in the day, spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel over the phone and had a detailed discussion on the gunfight with the Maoists.
During the conversation, the Chief Minister apprised the Home Minister of the ground reality of the encounter.
The Home Minister said the State and the Centre will jointly win the battle against the Maoists and assured the Chief Minister of all necessary help. He informed the Chief Minister that he had issued instructions to the Director General of CRPF to visit the site of the incident.
On March 23, five personnel of the District Reserve Guard were killed and several were injured in an IED blast -- the first major Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh this year -- in what the police said was a Maoist strike targeting a bus carrying more than 20 security personnel.