In an encounter with Maoists (aka Naxals) in the forest of Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, 17 jawans have been killed. On 21 March, Saturday, after the encounter with the Maoists, these jawans had gone missing. The police, who were looking for the jawans, found the bodies of 17 of them on Sunday.
Confirming that 17 jawans were killed in action, Bastar IG P Sundararaj said the injured jawans were brought to Raipur by helicopter and admitted to Ramakrishna Care Hospital. The condition of three of the 14 injured men is stated to be critical.
The encounter took place in Chintagufa police station area of Sukma district in Maoist-affected Bastar area of the state. The jawans managed to kill five Maoists in the operation.
After this incident, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has called an emergency meeting of officials.
Yesterday, teams of STF and District Reserve Guard (DRG) from Chintagufa and nearby camps went to the forest after a tip-off that a battalion of Maoistites was seen in the Minapa area. The commander of the Maoist battalion is said to be the infamous Hidma.
When the search operation was over, the communist terrorists ambushed and fired indiscriminately at the jawans. According to the police, there was intense firing from both the sides on Saturday afternoon between 2:30 PM and 5 PM.
The Maoist ambush was so sudden, the security forces lost their tracking device, which disoriented the jawans. Sukma SP and Bastar IG continued to monitor the incident.
The police were not ready to share anything with the media until minutes ago. DGP DM Awasthi confirmed the encounter but could not provide the number of jawans killed or injured. He said, “We cannot tell anything about this until the entire team returns.”
Awasthi said, “When the teams of the security forces return, it will be clear only after counting how many of our jawans are injured.”
Reportedly, it is very difficult to reach the spot of the encounter. A large number of teams were sent to search for the missing personnel of the security forces.
The bodies of 17 security forces personnel were recovered during a search operation on Sunday. Chhattisgarh Police says the personnel killed in action comprise five STF and 12 DRG personnel.
According to police officials, 600 jawans of DRG, STF and COBF’s Cobra Battalion were dispatched from Chintagufa, Burkapal and Timelwara after the reported Maoist activity in Elamaguda in Sukma district. When the security forces personnel were on the hill of Rajguda village at 2.30 PM, the Maoists opened fire at them.
The security forces retaliated. The police claimed to have killed several Maoists in the encounter.