Three CRPF Commandos Killed in Maoist Encounter in Chhattisgarh

The event occurred hours after a new security camp was created in the village, which is 616 kilometres from the state capital Raipur.
Three CRPF Commandos Killed in Maoist Encounter in Chhattisgarh
Three CRPF Commandos Killed in Maoist Encounter in ChhattisgarhREPRESENTATIVE

Three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, including two from the specialist Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), were killed in an engagement with Maoists along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region. Tekulagudem hamlet, where Tuesday's engagement occurred, was also the scene of another encounter in 2021, which killed 23 soldiers.

The event occurred hours after a new security camp was created in the village, which is 616 kilometres from the state capital Raipur. On Republic Day, the Indian Tricolour was raised for the first time in the Sukma-Bijapur area.

Maoists took advantage of the forest cover and opened fire on the personnel in the Jonaguda-Aliguda area while a joint team of the CoBRA, the Special Task Force (STF), and the District Reserve Guard (DRG) was conducting anti-Naxal operations after setting up the new camp.

The security personnel returned fire, prompting the Maoists to flee and seek shelter in the forest. The 14 other injured personnel were transported to Raipur for treatment. The three victims were identified as constables Deven C and Pawan Kumar from CoBRA 201, as well as constable Lambdhar Sinha from CRPF Battalion 150. The CoBRA is a specialist group under the CRPF that fights extremists and rebels in guerrilla/jungle warfare operations.

This is the first significant Naxal attack under the new BJP administration in the state.

Earlier this month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over a Left Wing Extremism (LWE) review conference with stakeholders in Raipur, during which he stated that the Maoist threat would be eliminated within the next three years.

In January, five accused Naxals, including two women, were slain in encounters across the state. A six-month-old girl was also killed in cross-fire during an anti-Naxal operation.

Since November of last year, nine additional police camps were opened in Sukma and Bijapur districts.

During the state's two-phase elections in November, members of the banned CPI(Maoist) killed two security guards and badly injured another in three separate IED strikes while transporting a polling party to a booth before voting.

In 2022, 10 security officers, 33 civilians, and 32 Naxals were killed in Chhattisgarh. However, the election year 2023 witnessed a significant increase in the number of security personnel killed, with 24 casualties across the state. An Army jawan on leave visiting his home in Kanker was among those killed. Furthermore, 31 bystanders and 23 accused Naxals were killed last year.

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