Maoists massacre 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 20:48

Raipur: Ambushing policemen who were out on
an operation against them in thick forests, Naxalites carried
out their deadliest attack in the early hours today killing 76
CRPF personnel who appeared to have walked into their "trap".


The police personnel were literally caught sleeping in
the Mukrana forests of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, one
of the strongholds of the Naxals, when the attack took place
between 6 AM and 7 AM on a batch of 82, including 80 CRPF
personnel. Two were from the local police.

The personnel were returning to the base camp as part of
joint operation when it came under fire from hill features
just about four kilometers away.


Virtually an entire company of the CRPF was wiped out
when 75 of its personnel including Deputy Commandant Satyawan
Singh Yadav and Assistant Commandant B L Meena along with the
head constable of the Chattisgarh police were killed.


The attack shook the Centre and Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh had a meeting with Home Minister P Chidambaram and
assessed the situation. Both of them expressed shock over the
attack and grief over the loss of lives.


The National Security Council which had a pre-scheduled
meeting, discussed the dastardly attack. The Prime Minister,
Chidambaram, some of his cabinet colleagues and the three
service chiefs attended the meeting.

While the Prime Minister called it a "horrific"
incident, Chidambaram said it showed the brutality and
savagery of the Maoists.


Rattled by the "very high" casualty, Chidambaram said
something must have gone "drastically wrong" in the joint
operation as the personnel seemed to have walked into a trap.


Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai, however, ruled out use of
air power in the anti-naxal operations. He said the
government`s resolve strengthened and it will continue to
tackle the Maoists menace as already planned.


Narrating the sequence of events, official sources said
the Central Intelligence Bureau had shared an information
about presence of naxalites in the jungles of Chintalnar-
Tarmetla following which the CRPF personnel along with the two
state police constables left on their pursuit.


The CRPF team, which failed to achieve any breakthrough
during the night, were encircled by the Naxals in the wee
hours. They fired at the security personnel who ran towards
the jungles, which had already been mined with pressure bombs,
which claimed most of the lives.


The sources said that after the blasts, Naxals went
round to look for any survivors and shot them too mercilessly
before looting their weapons and two mortar guns.


The bodies have been recovered from the site of the
attack, suspected to have been carried out by about 1000
Naxals, Chhattisgarh Inspector General R K Vij said.


The Naxals had planted IEDs which blew up an anti-mine
vehicle killing the lone occupant, the driver. This was
followed by heavy exchange of fire between the remaining CRPF
personnel and the Maoists.


Seven of the injured CRPF men have been evacuated for
treatment from the forest area, he said.


In New Delhi, the Home Secretary said those who have
gone from the base camp to rescue the attacked team, also came
under fire.


"One of the helicopters which has been dispatched to
bring in the injured personnel also came under fire from the
Maoists," he said.


Pillai said an AN-32 aircraft has been sent to bring the
bodies back to Delhi.


Calling the incident "regrettable", he expressed
sympathies for the personnel who lost their lives in the
ambush.


"MHA, in one of its first advertisement, had indicated
that Maoists are nothing but murderers. The incident today
reinforces this as also the other hundreds of people, innocent
civilians and tribals that they have killed in past few months
and years," Pillai said.


The injured para-military force personnel have been
identified as Head Constable Raj Bahadur and Constables B
Malakar, Baljit, Ramesh, Aditya, Pramod and Arvind.


CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava, who rushed from
the national capital to the scene, said, "The CRPF men were in
the forests for operational duty when the Naxals attacked. It
is very tragic and sad."


State Chief Minister Raman Singh called a meeting of top
officials to discuss the strategy in the aftermath of
dastardly attack. "This incident showed the real face of
Naxalites, who also keep talking of peace," he said.


A Home Ministry team and CRPF Special Director General
Vijay Raman, who is also the Commander of the Anti-Naxal Task
Force, rushed to the spot. Additional reinforcements have
already been sent and search operations are on in the area.


The attack comes two days after Maoists triggered a
land mine blast in Orissa`s Koraput district, killing 11
security personnel of the elite anti-Naxal Special Operations
Group.


On February 15, 24 personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles
were killed in a Maoist attack on their camp in West Bengal`s
West Midnapore district.


In earlier major attacks, Naxalites killed 38 greyhound
commandos of the Andhra Pradesh Police in a reservoir in June
2008 in Orissa while 16 policemen were killed in jungles of
Gadchiroli in Maharashtra in last June.

-PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 20:48

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