Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday described the killing of 26 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh by Maoists as "cowardly and deplorable". The prime minister tweeted:
Attack on @crpfindia personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly & deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 24, 2017
"We are proud of the valour of our CRPF personne. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain," Modi tweeted while offering his condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the attack. "May those injured in (the) attack recover at the earliest," he added.
The Prime Minister said the government was monitoring the situation in Chhattisgarh closely.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "extremely pained" by the killing of 24 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh on Monday. Singh also said the government has taken as a "challenge" the killing of CRPF personnel by Naxals in Sukma in Chhattisgarh. "We have taken the attack as a challenge," he told reporters here.
"Extremely pained to know about the killings of CRPF personnel in Sukma (district). My tributes to the martyrs and condolences to their families," Rajnath Singh tweeted. He said he had spoken to Chhattisgarh Home Minister Hansraj Ahir, who "will take stock of the situation".
Extremely pained to know about the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My tributes to the martyrs and condolences to their families. 1/2 — Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 24, 2017
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Monday said he was "extremely distressed" over the Naxal attack in his state that killed at at least 26 CRPF personnel, and cut short his Delhi visit.
Singh was in the national capital to attend some programmes and was scheduled to leave for Raipur on Tuesday. "I am extremely distressed to know about the Naxal attack in Sukma. I am cancelling my Delhi tour and returning to Chhattisgarh to attend a meeting," he wrote on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the Naxalite attack on CRPF personnel at Sukma in Chhatisgarh. "Saddened at the tragic death of CRPF jawans in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. Strongly condemn violence. My sympathies with the bereaved families," she tweeted.
Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Union minister of Urban development Vekaiah Naidu also condoled the attack.
President Pranab Mukherjee also condemned the attack and said, "Strongly condemn attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh; condolences to families of deceased and prayers for injured (sic)," the President said in a tweet.
Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi said such "thoughtless violence" will never succeed in weakening the resolve to fight extremist forces. The party also demanded that the Narendra Modi government take immediate and strong action against the forces behind the incident.
Describing the attack as "mindless and ruthless strike on our security forces", Sonia Gandhi said the sacrifice of 24 brave men was a big loss to the nation. "Such attacks will never deter the fight against extremism," she said.
The Congress president also expressed solidarity with friends and families of the martyrs and prayed for the early recovery of the injured.
AICC in-charge of communications department Randeep Singh Surjewala said this was the second dastardly attack by Naxalites in recent times in the state. He said on 11 March this year, 11 paramilitary commandos had sacrificed themselves in a brutal Naxalite attack.
"Did BJP-led Chattisgarh government learn any lesson? Is it not a clear case of Intelligence failure on part of Central and state government? How does the present government propose to tackle Naxalites?
"The Prime Minister should take decisive action against anti-national forces, who are directly challenging the might of the nation," he said.
"Our salute to the brave soldiers and condolences to their families," Surjewala said.
Hundreds of Maoists on Monday ambushed and massacred at least 26 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district in the bloodiest attack this year.
The CRPF said the deadly ambush took place at 12.30 pm when its 74th Battalion reached a forested area in Kala Pathar near Chintagufa.
CRPF's Deputy Inspector General M Dinakaran said 11 bodies were first recovered and a 12th trooper succumbed to his injuries in a hospital here. A subsequent search of the area led to 12 more bodies.
A trooper who survived the horror said about 300 Maoists surprised the paramilitary personnel when they were readying for lunch.
The guerrillas, who were in hiding, opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed hand grenades too, taking the CRPF by surprise.
The CRPF personnel were helping a Road Opening Party when they came under attack.
The ambush triggered a major gun battle between the Maoists and the CRPF.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2017 21:00:23 IST