A trooper who survived a deadly Naxalite ambush which left 22 of his colleagues dead in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region alleged in an audio that surfaced on Tuesday that there was considerable delay in the arrival of a rescue helicopter.
The unnamed trooper claimed that but for the brave fightback by the security forces, as many as 76 of them could have been killed by the Naxalites in the gory action of April 3 in a remote hilly site of Bijapur district close to Sukma district.
The trooper voiced displeasure over the delay in sending a chopper to rescue the security personnel who were wounded and needed to be airlifted.
“We were making repeated requests for a chopper. At 11 am they told us the chopper was in the air. At 1 pm they asked our GR (ground report). Then said the chopper cannot reach the spot.
"Later they told us to move 3 km ahead from our current spot. When we reached there, they told as they were considering using a chopper and were discussing it with the IG (Inspector General of Police),” the trooper is heard saying.
He said the Maoists chased them for about 8 km before re-enforcements reached the security forces.
Recalling the Maoist ambush, he said: “The first round of fire was from an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). An RPG attack is very powerful and stuns everyone,” he said.
The security forces, he said, retaliated hard.
“Our second in-command Sandeep Dwivedi got bullet injuries in hand and thighs while fighting. Our DC (deputy commander) Munish Sir was hit by splinter from a UBGL on the back of his head. One of our Inspectors was hit by a bullet straight on the chest. He martyred later. We too fired UBGL, CGL and broke the Maoist ambush somehow. We then counter attacked them and fought there for six hours straight,” the trooper said.
He claimed that 40 to 42 Naxalites died in the fighting. Two tractors packed with bodies of Maoist fighters moved away from there, he added.
The Pioneer repeatedly tried to contact Inspector General of Police (Bastar) Sundarrj P to know about the authenticity of the audio but he was not available to comment on it.