Almost 3 lakh jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will not celebrate the festival of colours today. Bhejji, in the heart of naxal-infested Bastar region saw 60 Maoists armed to the teeth with weapons and bow and arrow launch a strike on 112 personnel of 219 Battalion who were deployed as Road Opening Patrol for an under-construction road.
The top guns of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), CRPF and state police flew down to the spot to review the situation.
But as India celebrates holi, CRPF jawans are mourning the death of its brave soldiers.
A letter of the force administration to all its CRPF formations read, "In view of the tragic incident at Sukma which claimed the lives of 12 precious jawans, the competent authority has desired that no regimental function related to holi will be observed at the battalion, company or any other formation. "
The force will observe a 2-minute silence as a mark of respect for the martyrs.
A source from the CRPF said, "This is one of the greatest tragedies. This is an important festival in India but we cannot play Holi even as the blood of our brave soldiers have been spilt. The authority's decision should be respected."
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who visited Raipur soon after the incident, also vowed not to celebrate the festival in view of the tragic incident.
The Bhejji encounter in Chattisgarh's Sukma is one of the greatest losses for CRPF, who is fighting Maoists in the region for the last 2 years. The Force lost 12 soldiers in an ambush laid down by insurgents on Saturday.