The injured CRPF men in the Sukma attacks by Maoists were sent to Raipur and Jagdalpur for treatment.
New Delhi: In the deadliest Maoist ambush in years, 25 men of the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF died on Monday afternoon in Chhattisgarh's Sukma area. Six people were injured.The well-planned massacre was carried out by nearly 300 Maoists, a survivor said. At the time, the 99-member CRPF team was carrying out a sanitization exercise for an under-construction road in the area. Sukma is part of south Bastar, which for decades has suffered the Maoist menace. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Raipur today to pay tributes to martyrs. Since April 2010, nearly 200 security personnel have died in six major attacks in Chhattisgarh.
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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 six injured jawans in the Sukma attack have been air-lifted and sent to Raipur for treatment. Some of them are said to be critical. One of the injured men succumbed to injuries while being evacuated by air.
"We are yet to account for all the personnel and a search is on. Around 7 to 8 boys are still missing," news agency Press Trust of India quoted a CRPF officer as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and tweeted, "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.
After the Sukma attack, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh cut short his visit to Delhi and rushed back to Raipur for an emergency meeting."Our jawans will not back down," Mr Singh said. "Sukma is Naxalite bastion. This road, once built, will cripple their network."
On April 6, 2010, 76 personnel of the CRPF died in Dantewada as they were on an area domination exercise. Two months later, on June 29, 26 CRPF men were killed in Narayanpur.
On 11 March this year, 12 CRPF men were killed and four were injured in an ambush there. The forces were providing security cover for road construction on the Bheji-Gorkha-Injiram Axis area.
After that attack, Rajnath Singh said it was a sign of the "frustration" of the Maoists because of the "unprecedented success" of the security operations against them. In a statement in Lok Sabha, the minister said in 2016, 135 extremists were killed and 700 were arrested.