Jawans were trapped in U shape ambush by the ultras
Raipur, 4 April. At least, 22 jawans lost their lives and 30 others grievously injured in what could be an eye-opening and shocking strategy employed by the guerillas of outlawed CPI (Maoist) in an ambush carried out in remote Tekalgudam village in Bijapur district of restive southern Chhattisgarh on Saturday evening.
The encounter took place around late Saturday afternoon and lasted for more than four hours in Tekalgudam village situated on the borders of the country’s worst Naxal-affected districts of Sukma and Bijapur. At least 22 personnel confirmed to have been martyred and 30 injured in a fierce gun battle between security forces and the Naxalites, Director General of Naxal operations Ashok Juneja told reporters. 7 injured have been airlifted to Raipur for further treatment. Additional enforcement around 2000 jawans has been rushed to the site from different camps to clear the area of the rebels.
Eight personnel of DRG, 6 jawans of STF and CRPF Cobra Battalion, and 2 jawans of Bastar Battalion lost their lives in the deadly ambush, Juneja added. The rebels have also been inflicted with heavy casualties with scores of their cadre being killed in the gun battle. The rebels have been seen ferrying the corpses of their slain comrades into a tractor trolley, Juneja informed.
Police and CRPF officials claimed that the Maoist ultras used light machine guns (LMGs), under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL), and “desi rockets” to inflict maximum casualty in the gun-fight with security apparatus. Teams of Cobra and Bastaria Battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), District Reserve Guard, and Special Task Force personnel were out on separate patrolling operations for the last two days near Jonaguda in the Silger forest of Tarrem region, said Bastar IG Sundarraj P.
A patrolling team force received intelligence inputs about the presence of a large number of Maoist rebels including dreaded Naxal Commander Hidma near Tekalgudam on Saturday morning and its team’s commanding officer decided to move for an operation there.
Satellite images also confirmed that there were unusual movements there. Interestingly, other security teams in that area also started receiving similar inputs and they too also began to draw closer. Officials suspect that the guerillas could have planted inputs about their presence in Jonaguda to entice and trap the force in the ‘U’ shaped ambush.
Experts with the first-hand experience of the war-zone of Bastar say the Jonaguda area is counted among one of the guerilla fortresses of troubled southern Bastar. Force never ventures in large numbers in this critical region given its difficult terrain and advantage Maoist enjoys there. However, the force from all sides kept moving into the warzone due to the temptation of catching notorious Naxal commander Hidma, who carried out a series of deadly attacks including the Jheerm Ghati attack which wiped out the entire state Congress leadership in 2013.
The rebels started firing when they found more than 400 jawans trapped in their U shape ambush, security personnel narrated. They inflicted maximum casualties on security forces with a Light Machine Gun (LMG) placed in hiding. Despite Naxals having the advantage of a higher altitude and safe hiding, the retaliation from the force was so fierce that the rebels suffered a body blow with several of their key commanders have been reportedly killed in the encounter. Some jawans tried to storm their higher hiding but were chased and fired by the rebels. The ultras looted weapons and other goods and ran back into the thick jungles, wounded jawans told.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah telephoned Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday to discuss the horrific incident. The Chief Minister apprised him of the ground situation of the encounter between the Naxalites and the security forces. Shah assured the CM of all the necessary assistance from the center.
Meanwhile, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldeep Singh has also reached Raipur.