Morale of jawans high, anti-Naxal operation to go on: Baghel

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Raipur, Apr 4 (PTI) In the wake of the deadly Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region that claimed the lives of 22 security personnel, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday said the morale of jawans is high and the operation against Naxals would continue.

Talking to reporters this evening at Raipur airport after returning from Assam, Baghel said the work of setting up security forces' camps will be expedited in Maoists' stronghold areas.

Baghel had been campaigning in Assam for the ongoing Assembly election.

'Morale of our security forces is high and they are giving a strong fight to Naxals in their den. In the Saturday's encounter, Naxals have suffered a huge loss,' he said.

'We have got information that Naxals have ferried their dead and injured colleagues in four tractors from the encounter site. During the four-hour-long gun-battle, security forces fought with bravery,' he added.

Naxals have been losing their ground and now they have been pushed to a very limited area. Out of this frustration, they have been committing such incidents to show their presence, he said.

We have been setting up camps in their strongholds and this work will continue,, Baghel added.

On his arrival, the chief minister took stock of the incident from senior administrative and police officials, a government official said.

Later, he visited Ramkrishna Care hospital here where injured jawans are admitted and enquired about their health, he added.

Twenty-two security personnel were killed and 31 others injured in the gunfight that took place between Jonaguda and Tekalgudam villages along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts on Saturday afternoon.

One jawan is still missing following the gunfight.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP hit out at the chief minister and said he should understand that Naxalism is a bigger challenge than the election in Assam.

'The entire state is mourning the martyrdom of the security personnel but the CM was busy in electioneering in Assam. What can be more unfortunate than this,' senior BJP leader Dharamlal Kaushik said.

'Naxalism is a bigger challenge than the election. The irresponsible attitude of the state government has proved that it has no concern for people of the state,' the Leader of Opposition said. PTI TKP NP NP