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 on April 3 (Saturday). The teams were deployed in the forests of Chhattisgarh for a search and destroy anti-Maoist operation along the border of the 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, brutalised dead bodies and escape with weapons.
This brutal Naxal attack that resulted in the killing of 22 jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and leaving 31 injured at the Sukma-Bijapur border in Bastar division on April 3 (Saturday) brings back the memory of the deadly 2010 Dantewada attack, where the Maoists used the same modus operandi of isolating and attacking a company of soldiers returning from an area domination exercise.
The soldiers were already out on the field for over 24 hours and vulnerable due to exhaustion. The Naxalites used this sensibility to launch an attack, almost wiping out the CRPF’s 82nd Battalion back in 2010. And this trend has been continuing until today.
2010 Maoist attack in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh
On this day in 2010, April 6, 76 CRPF jawans were killed in an ambush by Naxals near Chintalnar village in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. The attack occurred in the Tademetla forests when over 80 officers from the central paramilitary force Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a local police group were conducting an area domination exercise in the Bastar tribal region of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
It was reported how Maoists, who waited on hilltops, opened indiscriminate fire and triggered an IED blast as the convoy appeared. Later, the reinforcements that were rushed to the site were also blown up. The CRPF team, which comprised only 120 personnel were heavily outnumbered by almost 1000 Maoists who attacked and killed the jawans and fled the scene with weapons, including bulletproof jackets, guns and ammunition.
A fierce gunbattle was on between the security forces and Naxals in the jungles of Dantewada. Rescue operations were reported to have been hampered because of heavy firing by the Naxals. Helicopters that were rushed in to rescue injured CRPF jawans had been fired at by the Naxals using anti-aircraft guns. The heavy firing had, however, made it difficult for the rescue helicopters to land. The cowardly attack by Naxalites had then resulted in the martyrdom of 76 CRPF soldiers, while 50 others were said to be seriously wounded.
By far, the Dantewada attack remains the worst ever attack in the history of Maoist insurgency, inflicting severe casualty to the Indian forces.