TODAY -
75 security personnel killed in bloodiest Naxal attack
Source: The Sangai Express / PTI

Raipur, April 06 2010: In the bloodiest attack on security forces, Naxals today trapped and gunned down 75 personnel during a joint "Operation Green Hunt" offensive against the ultras in the thick forests of Mukrana in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, one of the strongholds of the Maoists.

The incident took place between 6 am and 7 am when nearly 100 personnel comprising CRPF and State police were returning after opening a road for the troops to begin an operation against the Naxals.

While 74 of those killed were CRPF personnel, including a deputy and an Assistant Commandant, one was a Head Constable of the district police.

Dantewada Superintendent of Police Amresh Mishra said the Naxals first blew up a vehicle carrying the CRPF personnel near Chintalnar-Tarmetla village in the district.

Immediately after the blast, the CRPF personnel and a few police personnel tried to take cover when they came under heavy fire from hundreds of Naxals, well entrenched on the adjacent hillock.

The CRPF team had been camping in the interiors of Tarmetla jungles for the last three days as part of a combing operation and area domination exercise, Mishra said.

The attack shook the Centre and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Home Minister P Chidambaram over telephone to make an assessment of the situation.

Both of them expressed shock over the attack and grief over the loss of lives.

The National Security Council met under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister and is understood to have discussed the deadliest Maoist strike.

Chidambaram, some of his Cabinet colleagues and the three service chiefs attended the meeting.

While the Prime Minister called it a "horrific" incident, Chidambaram said it showed the brutality and savagery of the Maoists.

Rattled by the "very high" casualty, Chidambaram said something must have gone "drastically wrong" in the joint operation as the personnel seemed to have walked into a trap.

Bodies of the 75 personnel have been recovered from the site of the attack suspected to have been carried out by about 1000 Naxals, Inspector General RK Vij said.

The Naxals had planted IEDs which blew up an anti-mine vehicle killing the lone occupant, the driver.

This was followed by heavy exchange of fire between the remaining CRPF personnel and the Maoists.

Seven of the injured CRPF men have been evacuated for treatment from the forest area, he said.

Among the dead were CRPF Deputy Commandant Saryawan Singh and Assistant Commandant BL Meena.

They were both from Rajasthan, a CRPF spokesman said in New Delhi.

The injured para-military force personnel have been identified as Head Constable Raj Bahadur and Constables B Malakar, Baljit, Ramesh, Aditya, Pramod and Arvind, he said.

CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava, who rushed from the national Capital to the scene, said, "The CRPF men were in the forests for operational duty when the Naxals attacked.

It is very tragic and sad." State Chief Minister Raman Singh called a meeting of top officials for discuss the strategy in the aftermath of dastardly attack.

"This incident showed the real face of Naxalites," he said.

Union Home Ministry sources said it is suspected that certain information could have planted that drew the contingent of the CRPF, which is a well-trained force, into the ambush.

"There was no intelligence inputs.

But the troops were made to believe that they were going in for a raid in a non-descript area which was a naxal training camp," they said, adding the forces would need to improvise as lessons have been learnt.

CRPF Special Director General Vijay Raman, who is also the Commander of the Anti-Naxal Task Force, is on way to the forest area.

Additional reinforcements have already been sent and search operations are on in the area.

Helicopters were pressed into service to evacuate the injured and bring back the bodies, Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Viswa Ranjan said.

The operation to rescue injured jawans was over and the bodies were being airlifted.

The attack comes two days after Maoists triggered a land mine blast in Orissa's Koraput district, killing 11 security personnel of the elite anti-Naxal Special Operations Group.

On February 15, 24 personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles were killed in a Maoist attack on their camp in West Bengal's West Midnapore district.

In earlier major attacks, Naxalites killed 38 greyhound commandos of the Andhra Pradesh Police in a reservoir in June 2008 in Orissa while 16 policemen were killed in jungles of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra in last June.


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