The death toll in the Bijapur Naxal encounter rose to 22 by today. Reports suggest that 21 security personnel are still missing. Large scale search operations are underway to rescue the missing personnel. The encounter broke out on April 3, in which several Jawans were injured. They were taken to the hospital for treatment. Yesterday, 5 bodies were recovered, while today 17 more bodies of security forces were recovered from the ambush site.
On Saturday, separate joint teams of security forces, with over 2,000 personnel, had launched a major operation against the Naxal terrorists from Bijapur and Sukma districts in the South Bastar forests, considered a Maoist stronghold. At around 12 noon, the Maoists trapped and ambushed one of the teams of the security forces. The ambush led to an encounter that lasted for three hours. At least two Maoist terrorists have been confirmed to be dead in the gunfight.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Bhupesh Baghel, CM, Chhattisgarh, over the phone and discussed the incident in detail.
22 security personnel have lost their lives in the Naxal attack at Sukma-Bijapur in Chhattisgarh, says SP Bijapur, Kamalochan Kashyap— ANI (@ANI) April 4, 2021
Visuals from the Sukma-Bijapur Naxal attack site pic.twitter.com/C3VvAdvjaN
Baghel, while informing the home minister about the ground reality of the encounter, said, “The damage caused to the security forces in the encounter is very tragic. But the morale of the security forces is still strong, and only we will win this fight against Naxal violence.”
The Home Minister assured the CM to provide all necessary help and said the centre would work with the state to win the battle against the Maoists. He also informed the CM that instructions had been issued to the Director-General of CRPF to visit the incident’s site.
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
CM Baghel, in a statement to the media, said that the villagers had lost faith in the Maoists as they are continuously disrupting the development work in the area. He added that the villagers are now joining the mainstream of development. The improvement in health, education and other facilities in the Naxal-hit regions encourages people to alienate the Maoist ideology. As per CM Baghel, the Maoists are carrying out such attacks as a retaliation to the development work in the region.
Baghel kept on rallying in Assam hours after the attack
Even after several hours since the news of the attack on security personnel broke, Chhattisgarh CM Baghel decided to stay in Assam, campaigning for Congress for the ongoing Assembly elections. Baghel was criticised on social media for not cutting short his appearance in rallies in Assam.