26 CRPF jawans martyred: When will anti-Maoist operations reach logical end?

One more Maoist attack on security forces and this time again in Chhattisgarh. In one of the deadliest attacks by Maoists in the recent times, at least 26 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred and six others were seriously injured in outh Bastar’s Sukma district of Chhattisgarh today.

The jawans, who are from the 74th battalion of the CRPF, were deployed in the area for the anti-Maoist operations. The CRPF patrol was sanitising the area where a road was being laid between Burkapal and Jagargunda when the attack happened.

“The incident took place when the road opening party of the 74th battalion of CRPF were out on patrol at Burkapal near Chintagufa. The jawans were deployed for security at an under construction road. The Maoists ambushed CRPF personnel and started indiscriminate firing,” Jitendra Shukla, additional superintendent of police, Sukma was quoted as saying.

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These CRPF jawans were were attacked by the 300 Maoists at around 12.25 pm. The Maoists have reportedly looted all weapons, wireless equipment, and ammunition belonging to the slain jawans.

An injured jawan brought to the hospital was quoted as saying by this PTI report, “The Maoists first sent villagers to check our position… I also saw some women Maoists. They were all wearing black uniforms and had sophisticated weapons like the AK series assault rifles.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the attack “cowardly” and “deplorable”, adding that the sacrifice of the slain jawans won’t go in vain. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said he is “extremely distressed” over the incident.

Sukma, considered among India’s worst insurgency-hit regions, has seen Maoist violence for the last several decades. On March 11 earlier this year, Maoists ambushed a similar CRPF road opening party and killed at least 12 jawans. It is to recall that in 2010, the Maoists killed 76 CRPF personal in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada.

The Maoists ruthlessly and systematically kill countless men in uniform and civilians. According to an estimate, more than 13,000 people were killed since the beginning of Maoism in India in 1980. The number of casualties have been on decline recently, but this attack has now raised new questions:

Maoists have always been anti-development. In the recent past Sukma has seen a huge infrastructure boost. A newly built bridge over Sabari river has reduced the distance between Sukma and the Odisha’s Malkanagiri from 120 kilometres to only 3 kilometre. The attack last month and today’s attack are being seen as Maoists’ “revenge” for this development.

But was there any specific intelligence alert sounded by Central intelligence agencies about a possible Maoist strike given similar strike was carried out last month?  What is going to be our response now? These questions beg to be answered.

The Maoists, who are waging a war against the nation, are terrorists. It is high time the war on Maoists terror reached its logical conclusion. The despicable attack should not go unpunished and the sacrifice of our brave jawans must not go in vain.

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