At least twenty five jawans of India’s central paramilitary force CRPF have been in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Monday. Many more have been injured in the attack when they were surrounded by some 300 Naxals.
The jawans belonged to the 74 battalion of the CRPF and were engaged in opening a road when they were attacked by outlawed Naxals.
This is the worst Maoist attack on security forces since the April 2010 attack in Dantewada district that led to the death of 76 CRPF personnel.
The encounter took place at around 1 pm between the Burkapal-Chintagufa area of the worst Maoist violence-affected district in south Bastar area of the state. One of the jawans passed away en route to a hospital in Raipur.
“As of now, we know that these men were out for a road opening task and they came under heavy fire from Naxalites. Seven other injured troops, including few who are critical, are being evacuated by helicopters,” a senior CRPF officer told PTI. They were sanitising a road which is being built in the area, the officer added.
The CRPF report to the Home Ministry said while 7 jawans are yet to be located, two of the injured are in a critical condition. Additionally, the company commander who headed the 74 Battalion is still reported to be missing.
The evacuation process is on and reinforcements have also been rushed to the spot. Chief Minister Raman Singh, who cut short his trip to New Delhi, has rushed to Raipur for an emergency meeting to review the situation.
Twelve personnel of the CRPF from the 219 Battalion were killed in Sukma district earlier this year in a Naxal ambush. That incident was reported in the dense forests near Kottacheru village under Bhejji police station, around 450 kms away from the state capital of Raipur. It was one of the deadliest attacks on security forces.