Updated: March 13, 2018 6:20 pm
Nine personnel of the 212 Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and two others were injured in a powerful IED blast by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Tuesday.
According to officials, an encounter broke out between the jawans and the Maoists around 8 am. This contingent was later targeted by the rebels around 12.30 pm along Kistaram-Palodi road when the personnel were conducting an area-domination operation. The mine-protected vehicle (MPV) was blown up by multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) concealed under the dirt track, a senior official said.
Following the incident, reinforcements were rushed to the spot and the injured personnel were airlifted to a government hospital in Raipur.
Chief Minister Raman Singh condemned the “cowardly and shameful” attack and said the rebels were afraid that development works would put an end to their activities. “The martyrdom of security personnel who sacrificed their lives while discharging their duties will always be remembered,” the chief minister said in a statement.
“Maoists feared that the development works in Bastar will uproot them from the region, therefore, they committed such a cowardly and shameful attack,” he added.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the attack and described the incident as “deeply distressing”. “Today’s IED blast in Sukma, Chhattisgarh is deeply distressing. I bow to each and every security personnel who attained martyrdom while serving the nation. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG @crpfindia regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh,” he tweeted.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were among other political leaders who paid their respects to the martyrs.
The Maoist attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh in which 9 CRPF jawans lost their lives is tragic. It reflects a deteriorating internal security situation due to flawed policies.
My condolences to the families of those killed. To those who have been injured, I wish a speedy recovery.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 13, 2018
Deeply saddened at the news coming from #Sukma. Lives of at least nine CRPF jawans lost. My heartfelt homage to all the martyrs. Strength to their families. Jai Hind
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 13, 2018
Upping the ante against the Centre, the Congress said the former had failed to control Left-wing extremism with its “aimless” policy on national security which had created disquiet internally and on the borders, and said the latest Maoist attack on a CRPF team exposed the government’s hollow claims on ending Naxalism. “Endangering India’s national security is a direct consequence of the Modi government’s aimless, irresolute and inconsistent polices. Modi had sold the ‘national security’ plank hard to attain power, but in the past four years, we have only witnessed a precarious security situation in the country,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.
“Hollow claims, sloganeering and drafting acronyms for propaganda cannot be a substitute to sound policy measures. Rhetoric and headline management only exacerbate the situation and endanger our people,” he added.
Last April, in the biggest Maoist attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh in the last seven years, 25 jawans were killed and six injured in an ambush in the Burkapal area of Sukma. According to officials, personnel from the 74th Battalion of CRPF were ambushed after emerging from their camp to secure an under-construction road in the area.
Twelve personnel of the force were killed on March 11 last year in the Bheji area of the district and their arms looted, when Naxals ambushed their patrol party.
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