INDIA. Chhattisgarh: The death toll of Saturday’s clash between security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur has reached 22 after bodies of 17 jawans were recovered on Sunday from the site. Five security personnel were killed in action and one jawan is still missing, said the Bijapur Superintendent of Police.
On April 2, an operation was launched by personnel belonging to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), the Special Task Force (STF), and the District Reserve Guard (DRG) against Battalion No. 1 Area Commander Hidma, who is one of the most wanted and dreaded Maoists. More than 2000 personnel had gone into the forest around Tarrem in Bijapur district on April 2.
According to sources, Maoist Hidma was actively present in the area and his team was responsible for the Saturday attack. Police said that Hidma has been responsible for several attacks against the security forces.
Security personnel was trapped in a pitfall while returning from the operation. The encounter on Saturday happened 10 days after five DRG personnel were killed when Maoists blew up their bus with an IED in Narayanpur district.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel after a dialogue with Home Minister Amit Shah took stock of the situation. Shah also has also spoken to the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldeep Singh and directed him to assess the situation and visit Chhattisgarh. Earlier, in a tweet, Shah praised the valor of the security personnel who laid down their lives fighting the extremists.
Shah reassured that the government will continue its fight against such enemies for peace and progress.
Expressing his condolences in a tweet, President Ramnath Kovind said, “The killing of the security personnel while battling Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh is a matter of deep anguish. The nation shares their pain and will never forget this sacrifice.” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has asked for a “decisive action” to locate and rescue the missing Jawans.