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9 CRPF men martyred in Sukma Maoist blast
Maoists massacred nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men on Tuesday afternoon in a forested patch in restive Sukma district by blowing up a mine protected vehicle (MPV) with over 50 kg improvised explosive device (IED).
The CRPF men killings came within 48 hours after Chief Minister Raman Singh travelled to Sukma district as pillion rider on a bike to monitor a road construction work in Red zone on March 11 to push development in the district where Maoists run a de-facto government in interiors since late 1980s.
“It was a well-planned major attack. The armoured MPV had gone about 10-feet into the air and crashed on the ground before splitting into pieces,” DM Awasthi, Special Director General (Naxal Operation), told The Pioneer.
He said 11 CRPF men were inside the vehicle. The two injured cops were airlifted to Raipur for emergency medical operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack. “India salutes the brave @crpfindia personnel who were martyred in the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the brave martyrs. The nation stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this hour of grief,” he tweeted.
The deadly attack on CRPF men sent shock waves in security apparatus in sprawling Bastar region where senior para-military officers termed it “a pure intelligence failure” in their first response. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh convened a high-level meeting in Raipur and reviewed the security situation in Bastar which comprises seven districts, including Sukma.
While elaborating the deadly attack, Awasthi stated that the incident took place around 12.30 pm along the 5-km under-construction Kistaram-Palodi road when the troops of the 212th battalion of the CRPF were out for an operation. The attack site is about 500 km south from Raipur
The IED blast was followed by a heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and the Maoists in which the Maoists also suffered a severe blow.
This is the third major incident in the area in the past one year. In March 2017, as many as 11 jawans lost their lives in a Naxal attack. In December 2017, the Naxals torched 27 vehicles involved in road construction in Sukma district.
Heavy reinforcement was rushed to the spot to hunt down the heavily armed killers who had been estimated to be 200-250 in numbers and had reportedly melted into nearby thick forests after the blast.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the incident “deeply distressing” and has asked the CRPF Director General Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar to go to the site.
“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,” Rajnath tweeted.
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