Eight security personnel have been killed in line of duty and around 18 security personnel, including seven from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are still missing after an encounter on Saturday with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, about 400 km from state capital Raipur.
Security forces have launched an operation along the Sukma-Bijapur border, where an intense face-off resulted in the deaths of 8 security personnel.
This morning, Director General (Naxal Operations) of Chhattisgarh Police Ashok Juneja said the number of deaths have increased to eight as on Saturday five security personnel had died in action. Sources told that Director-General, CRPF, Kuldeep Singh reached Chhattisgarh this morning to take stock of the situation. Officials said a total of 24 injured jawans were brought to the Bijapur hospital. At least seven were referred to a hospital in Raipur for treatment.
On Saturday, separate joint teams of security forces, with over 2,000 personnel, launched a major operation from Bijapur and Sukma districts in the South Bastar forests, considered a Maoist stronghold. At around 12 noon, the Maoists laid an ambush, leading to an encounter that lasted for three hours.
Sources told that the intelligence agencies had alerted authorities about the presence of Maoists along the Bijapur-Sukma border. Reports suggest that Naxals were planning to plant an IED in Bijapur. Maoists were also looking to target camps of security forces in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the deaths of security personnel and spoke to Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in this regard on Sunday. He also directed Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldiep Singh to visit Chhattisgarh to assess the situation. He tweeted that nation will never forget their valour and will continue fight against these enemies of peace and progress.
Assuring all necessary help from the centre, Shah said that the centre and state will fight together and win too.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the government is with the families of martyred during fighting with Maoists in Chhattisgarh and the sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten.
For the last 10 days, security forces were getting information about Madvi Hidma, the top member of banned CPI (Maoist), who has been linked to major attacks including the 2013 Jhiram Ghati killings. Over 30 people, including senior leaders of the Chhattisgarh Congress, were killed in the Jhiram Ghati Naxal attack in 2013.