Raipur (Chhattisgarh): Hours after Naxals killed twenty-five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condemned the heinous attack.
In a series of tweets, the PM said, "Attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh is 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... Condolences to their families."
Attack on @crpfindia personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly & deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 24, 2017
Reacting to the situation, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who was in Delhi to meet PM Modi, has called an emergency meeting, state home minister Ram Sewak Paikra told CNN-News18.
The attack on the CRPF road-opening party moving towards Chintagufa area occurred around 12.25 pm in south Bastar area of the state.
"We have lost twenty-five men in the encounter. As of now, we know that these men were out for a road opening task and they came under heavy fire from Naxalites...," CRPF Deputy Inspector General M. Dinakaran said.
The six troopers who were wounded and have been warded in hospitals include Assistant Sub-Inspector R P Hembram and Constables Swaroop Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Jitendra Kumar, Sher Mohammed and Latoo Oraon. Mohammed and Oraon were said to be out of danger.
Narrating the horrible experience, Costable Sher Mohammed said, "First, villagers traced our location and strength then almost 300 Naxals attacked us. In retaliatory firing, we also killed many of them. At least 3-4 naxals were shot in the chest."
This was the second major attack on CRPF personnel in 2017. (Photo: CNN-News 18 TV grab)
Meanwhile, CRPF Cobra teams have launched a major search operation under the guidance of senior officials to nab the ultras and recover the stolen arms and ammunition.
"A helicopter has already left for the spot to evacuate the injured. The encounter is still on," a senior officer said. 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, the officer added.
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The Indian Air Force (IAF) said, "Approximately, at 1500 hrs message was received by the IAFs anti-Naxal task force Commander about the ambush of CRPF team at Burkapal area of Sukma district. Immediately two IAF Mi-17 V5s of Jagdalpur detachment took off for Burkapal. One of the MI-17 was flying in escort role. On landing at venue of ambush, it was learnt that the mortal remains of 11 CRPF martyrs and seven injured jawans were to be airlifted. Immediately, the injured were airlifted and shifted to Raipur for treatment. One of the jawans succumbed to injuries in flight on the way to Raipur. The helicopter landed with casualties at Raipur approximately at 1700 Hrs. More helicopters have been launched from Raipur and Jagdalpur to evacuate mortal remains of the martyrs."
Maoists indulging in mindless killing. My deep condolences to the bereaved families. RIP...— M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) April 24, 2017
Shocked & saddened at death of our brave @crpfindia soldiers in #Sukma. My deepest condolences & prayers are with families.— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) April 24, 2017
Speaking on the tragic incident, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Monday said the government should take action against people who are behind the attack.
"Extremely unfortunate, hope govt will act with alacrity. Hope government initiates appropriate action against people responsible for the attack," he said.
ALSO READ: Sukma Maoist Attack: 12 CRPF Killed in Chhattisgarh, PM Modi Expresses Grief
According to reports, Monday's attack took place in the same area where the last attack happened.
Spoke to MoS Home Shri Hansraj Ahir about the attack in Sukma. Shri Ahir is going to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 24, 2017
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked for a detailed report on the Naxal attack on CRPF jawans in Chattisgarh's Sukma district. MoS Home Hansraj Ahir is going to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation. Ahir will be accompanied by Joint Secretary (naxal management) in the home ministry Praveen Vashisht and acting CRPF Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia.
Bastar IG Vivekanand Sinha and DIG Sunderraj have also left for Sukma to assess ground situation there.
Another MoS in the home ministry Kiren Rijiju said the incident was a "set back and a big tragedy". Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also reviewed the situation in the aftermath of the attack at his North Block office.
This was the second major attack on CRPF personnel in 2017. On March 11, twelve CRPF personnel were killed in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh after the Naxals ambushed a CRPF patrol party in the Maoist hotbed and looted their arms. Four personnel were also injured in the attack.
In 2010, in the worst attack on CRPF, 76 men died in Dantewada as they were on an area domination exercise.
(- With agency inputs)