Naxals slaughter 75 CRPF men

Naxals slaughter 75 CRPF men

Bloody Tuesday: Audacious dawn attack in Chhattisgarh the worst

Naxals slaughter 75 CRPF men

Bodies of paramilitary soldiers after a Maoist attack at Mukrana in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. PTI

Tuesday’s Maoist depredation, audacious as it was in its perfect planning and violent as it was in its scale of destruction, has stunned the Central government, especially the security establishment and the Union Home Ministry.

The attack comes two days after Maoists triggered a land mine blast in Orissa’s Koraput district, killing 11 security personnel of the elite anti-Naxal Special Operations Group. Twenty-four personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles were killed in a Maoist attack on their camp in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district on February 15.

Major attacks

In earlier major attacks, Naxalites killed 38 Greyhound commandos of the Andhra Pradesh Police in a reservoir in June 2008 in Orissa while 16 policemen were killed in the jungles of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, last June.

The CRPF company walked into a neatly laid trap set up by the Moaists in the thick forests of Mukrana in Dantewada, the the epicentre of Maoist operations across 14 states.

The attack came between 6 am and 7 am when the CRPF company (comprising about 120 men) was returning to base camp as part of a joint operation.

Bullets rained on them from hill features from as near as 4 km. Caught unawares, the CRPF jawans tried to return fire but to no avail as the Maoist guerrillas kept advancing on them, their guns firing. Within no time, virtually the entire company was wiped out.
Among the dead were deputy commandant Satyawan Singh Yadav, assistant commandant B L Meena and a head constable of the Chhattisgarh police.

The death toll is expected to rise since nearly 30 more jawans are missing.
Narrating the sequence of events, sources said the Intelligence Bureau had shared information about presence of Naxals in the jungles of Chintalnar- Tarmetla following which the CRPF personnel, along with two state police constables, left on their pursuit.

The CRPF team, which failed to achieve any breakthrough during the night, was encircled by the Naxals in the wee hours. They fired at the security personnel who ran towards the jungles, which had already been mined with pressure bombs that claimed most of the lives.

The sources said that after the blasts, the Naxals went around to look for any survivors and shot them too, mercilessly before looting their weapons and two mortar guns. The bodies have been recovered from the site of the attack, suspected to have been carried out by about 1,000 Naxals, Chhattisgarh Inspector-General of police R K Vij said.

The Naxals had planted IEDs which blew up an anti-mine vehicle killing the lone occupant, the driver. This was followed by heavy exchange of fire between the remaining CRPF personnel and the Maoists.

Seven of the injured CRPF men have been evacuated for treatment from the forest area, he said. State Chief Minister Raman Singh called a meeting of top officials to discuss the strategy.