In one of the deadliest attacks by Maoists in recent years, 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men died and six injured on April 24 afternoon in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh.
According to a survivor, the ambush on the 74th Battalion which took place between Burkapal and Chintagufa in Sukma district was well planned and was carried out by nearly 300 Maoists.
“The attack at Kalapathar area of south Bastar region had started around 1 pm. The Maoists had first sent locals to find out the position of the CRPF,” a survivor, Sher Mohammad told the media.
“We were set upon by 300 of them… villagers, women and the militia-types in black uniforms. They carried automatic weapons, AK 47, INSAS rifles,” he said.
The attack occurred at around 12:25 pm when 99-member CRPF team was executing a sanitization exercise for an under-construction road in the area.
According to Mohammad, who got injured in the deadly attack, the Maoists used villagers as a human shield during the gunbattle.
“They (Naxals) first sent some villagers to confirm our location. Then almost 300 Maoists attacked us,” he said.
“They were around 300 and we were about 150. We responded to the gunfire with equal force. I shot 3-4 Naxals in the chest,” he added.
While the search for the personnel was still going on, the injured jawans were air-lifted and sent to Raipur for treatment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while expressing his condolences tweeted about the sacrifices made by the CRPF men, “We are proud of the valour of our @crpfindia personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain”.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “It is very sad incident and we take it as a challenge”. The minister also tweeted to say his deputy Hansraj Ahir is going to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation.
“Our jawans will not back down,” said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh who cut short his Delhi visit and rushed back to Raipur Singh due to the Sukma attack.
“Sukma is Naxalite bastion. This road, once built, will cripple their network,” he added.