In the deadliest terrorist attack of 2021, a group of 400 Naxals ambushed a massive operation that included the STF, DRG and District Force of the Chhattisgarh Police, the CRPF and its elite COBRA unit. The teams were deployed in the forests of Chhattisgarh for a search and destroy anti-Naxalite operation along the border of Bijapur-Sukma district.
It was during this operation that the security teams of around 1500 personnel were ambushed by 400 Naxalites from three sides- led by the most-wanted Maoist commander and leader of the ‘People’s Liberation Guerilla Army’- Hidma. The close encounter between the Naxalites and security forces lasted for four hours in which the Naxalites rained bullets from light machine guns, used low-intensity IEDs and rocket launchers.
As per the latest report, a group of Maoists chopped off a security official’s hand before killing him and fled the scene with weapons, including bulletproof jackets, guns, ammunition, as well as his shoes. Some security officials were martyred due to dehydration.
The counter-attack by Naxalites which resulted in the martyrdom of 22 jawans and injured 31 others, is said to be a trap laid by the Maoists if reports are to be believed. An India Today report quoted an official speaking about the presence of Maoist leader Hidma in the area. The officer was quoted saying, “Within no time, they launched a counter-offensive. It is rare for such specific and accurate human and technical intelligence. Maoist presence in the area ready for a counter-attack makes it look like a trap now.”
Another senior official, in a statement to Indian Express, informed, “One of the primary sources of information these days is intercepts of information from receiver police have placed on a hill in Dantewada. This is not a new exercise and has happened before. In Minpa a year ago, and now here, there are clear signs that the Maoists know we are listening to their code. We are being played. The kind of fire we came under, and the positions they took, show it was well-planned. They knew we would find nothing at the spot and would return. When our team did, they were waiting, with very little escape route for our men.
The Chhattisgarh Police informed that the operation was launched based on intelligence inputs on the presence of Hidma, the commander of the Maoists, Battalion 1.
Not intelligence failure, says CG Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel from Assam
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel who even after several hours of the attack on security personnel, decided to stay in Assam, campaigning for Congress for the ongoing Assembly elections, finally gave a statement to the media late last evening. He said, “About 2000 soldiers were sent to install camps in an area which is Naxal bastion. This would restrict their movement, hence they were frustrated. There was no intelligence failure. We’ll surely install camps there. My condolences to bereaved families.”
हमें अपने वीर जवानों पर गर्व है।🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/1foFqZBRJI— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) April 4, 2021
Union Home Minister, Amit Shah who decided to terminate all his appointments and events for ongoing elections and head back to Delhi, informed during a media interaction that the death of the security forces will not go in vain and every sacrifice will be avenged. He has also assured the CM to provide all necessary help and said the centre would work with the state to win the battle against the Maoists.
छत्तीसगढ़ में नक्सलियों के साथ मुठभेड़ में शहीद हुए जवानों को श्रद्धांजलि देता हूं। मैं उनके परिवार व देश को विश्वास दिलाता हूं कि जवानों ने देश के लिए जो अपना बलिदान दिया है वो व्यर्थ नहीं जाएगा। नक्सलियों के खिलाफ हमारी लड़ाई और मजबूत होगी व हम इसे परिणाम तक ले जाएंगे। pic.twitter.com/15rAFAS5uU— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 4, 2021
The Chhattisgarh Police has been asked to submit a report to the Home Ministry detailing the Naxal attack, reported India Today. The directive comes after Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a review meeting with senior officials of the ministry, intelligence bureau and central armed police forces.
A senior security establishment official appealed saying, “We need serious thought based on deep consideration of Maoist tactics and our own; not knee-jerk response and ill-planned operations,” considering the fact our security forces have led successful operations in smaller teams that hit and attack basis solid human intelligence.