Nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on Tuesday in a suspected Naxal attack on their mine-protected vehicle in the Kistaram area in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, according to media reports.
— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2018
Two jawans out of eleven in the vehicle sustained injuries and were airlifted to Raipur for treatment. The names of the jawans killed: ASI RKS Tomar, Constable Ajay KR Yadav, Constable Manoranjan Lanka, Constable Jitendra Singh, Constable Shobhit Sharma, Constable Manoj Singh, Constable Dharmendra Singh, Constable Chandra HS, Head constable Lakshman.
Officials said the incident occurred around 12:30 pm along the district's Kistaram-Palodi road when troops of the CRPF's 212th battalion were out on an operation.
According to officials, the security men were conducting an area-domination operation in the forest area when the the attackers blew up the CRPF vehicle through multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) concealed under the dirt track. CRPF director-general RR Bhatnagar, who was in Delhi, left for Raipur.
Times Now reported that the attack is being seen by officials as a response to the last few encounters in Sukma and other districts.
Times Now further quoted local CRFF sources as saying that there could be a heavy number of people who have been injured in the attack. Soon after the incident, reinforcement was rushed to the spot.
Anti-Naxal operations special DG DM Awasthi told reporters that there is no firing in the area at present. Officials added that the first encounter took place at 8 am and later this contingent was targeted.
Doctors treating the wounded CRPF jawans in Raipur said that the jawans suffered injuries due to the IED blast and not due to any firing. They added that no bullets have been detected in the two injured personnel.
Bodies of those killed in the attack will be brought to Raipur for post mortem. Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said that he was "overwhelmed with grief" with the loss of the nine officials.
"The martyrdom of security personnel who sacrificed their lives while discharging their duties will always be remembered," the chief minister said in a statement. "Maoists feared that the development works in Bastar will uproot them from the region, therefore, they committed such a cowardly and shameful attack," he said.
Deeply anguished by the demise of our Jawans in the Sukma IED blast. Deepest condolences to the families of the brave martyrs and constant prayers for those injured. I am overwhelmed with grief on this loss. — Dr Raman Singh (@drramansingh) March 13, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind offered condolences over the attack on the paramilitary officials.
India salutes the brave @crpfindia personnel who were martyred in the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.
My thoughts are with the families and friends of the brave martyrs. The nation stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this hour of grief.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 13, 2018
Anguished at the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. India salutes the CRPF personnel who lost their lives while doing their duty to keep us safe. Condolences to the bereaved families. We remain firm in our resolve to take on and defeat all forms of terrorism #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 13, 2018
Home Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to condemn the attack.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG @crpfindia regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh. — Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 13, 2018
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the incident "reflects a deteriorating internal security due to flawed policies."
The Maoist attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh in which 9 CRPF jawans lost their lives is tragic. It reflects a deteriorating internal security situation due to flawed policies.
My condolences to the families of those killed. To those who have been injured, I wish a speedy recovery.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 13, 2018
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 21:06:20 IST