Maoists kill 9 CRPF men in Sukma

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Front Page - Ritesh Mishra and Ra­jesh Ahuja let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ ■

RAIPUR/NEW DELHI: Maoists am­bushed and killed nine Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force (CRPF) troop­ers and in­jured three in Ch­hat­tis­garh’s Sukma dis­trict on Tues­day, serv­ing a chill­ing re­minder that their an­nual tac­ti­cal coun­terof­fen­sive cam­paign (TCOC) against se­cu­rity forces is un­der­way. The CPI(Maoist) con­ducts its TCOC against se­cu­rity per­son­nel from March to June ev­ery year, try­ing to in­flict max­i­mum dam­age dur­ing this pe­riod.

The troop­ers were trav­el­ling from Kis­taram to Palodi camp in Sukma when they came un­der at­tack. Sukma SP Ab­hishek Meena had passed by the spot of the at­tack just be­fore it hap­pened, al­though it isn’t clear whether he was the tar­get.

Ac­cord­ing to CRPF chief RR Bhat­na­gar, who has reached Ch­hat­tis­garh to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion, the SP was to visit the for­ward camp at Palodi. “Around half a dozen ad­vance par­ties of the CRPF’s Co­BRA units on foot and mo­tor­cy­cle had gone ahead; Maoists tried to am­bush some of these par­ties but they ran away af­ter re­turn of fire at around 8am,” he said.

The SP’s con­voy, which passed by the same area at 12.30pm, in­cluded two Mine Pro­tected Ve­hi­cles or MPVs. The first passed un­scathed; the sec­ond, car­ry­ing the troop­ers, was at­tacked. “The MPV that was car­ry­ing troop­ers com­ing back from leave was tar­geted at 12.30pm with a pow­er­ful land­mine blast which ripped the ve­hi­cle apart,” said Bhat­na­gar.

“The quan­tity of ex­plo­sives used in the blast and whether the troop­ers trav­el­ling in the MPV had tied seat belts, which could have helped them to with­stand the im­pact of blast, is a mat­ter of in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” added Bhat­na­gar.

CRPF of­fi­cials ad­mit the MPV’s use­ful­ness is lim­ited in Maoist ar­eas where in­sur­gents use IEDs with ex­plo­sives up to 70-80 kg. “We have around 300 MPVs de­ployed in Maoists ar­eas, J&K and North-East­ern states. Most of them are man­u­fac­tured at the Ja­balpur fac­tory,” said a CRPF of­fi­cial.


AM­RIT­SAR : Union home min­is­ter and se­nior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh on Tues­day said de­mo­li­tion of stat­ues is against In­dian cul­ture, re­it­er­at­ing his ap­peal to the states to take ac­tion against those be­hind acts of van­dal­ism.

Rajnath un­veiled the statue of free­dom fighter Ud­ham Singh at Jal­lian­wala Bagh in Am­rit­sar. Ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing, he said, “I am see­ing that there are in­ci­dents of van­dal­is­ing of stat­ues of great per­son­al­i­ties. In­tol­er­ance and vi­o­lence can­not be a part of our cul­ture.”

Ud­ham Singh, who was an eye­wit­ness to the Jal­lian­wala Bagh mas­sacre and avenged it by as­sas­si­nat­ing Michael O’ Dwyer, the then Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of the Pun­jab who or­dered to shoot the In­di­ans gath­ered there in 1919, in March 1940 at Lon­don.

Pay­ing trib­utes to the mar­tyr, Rajnath said the statue re­minds one that a bru­tal act should be avenged with a bru­tal method.

“The Jal­lian­wala Bagh episode was a turn­ing point in the In­dian free­dom strug­gle. Had it not taken place, In­di­ans would not have been that an­gry against the Bri­tish. This mas­sacre made rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies like Bha­gat Singh, Ra­jguru, Sukhdev and Ash­faqulla Khan,” he said. He an­nounced that the 100th an­niver­sary of the mas­sacre will be ob­served across In­dia in 2019.

“I ob­served that the con­di­tion of Jal­lian­wala Bagh gar­den has im­proved from beau­ti­fi­ca­tion point of view. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment will see what can be done for beau­ti­fy­ing the gar­den,” he said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties shared stage dur­ing the cer­e­mony. Pun­jab cab­i­net min­is­ter Sadhu Singh Dharam­sot and Guru Harsa­hai MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi were present on be­half of the state gov­ern­ment. Congress MP from Am­rit­sar Gur­jit Singh Au­jla was also present.

Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Prem Singh Chan­du­ma­jra, Pun­jab BJP pres­i­dent and Union min­is­ter Vi­jay Sampla, BJP na­tional sec­re­tary Tarun Chugh, Ra­jya Sabha MP Sh­wait Ma­lik and for­mer Pun­jab min­is­ter Anil Joshi also at­tended the cer­e­mony. The speak­ers pointed out that the statue should have been in­stalled much ear­lier and lauded Rajnath for mak­ing this a re­al­ity. In­stal­la­tion of the statue was a long-pend­ing de­mand of the Kam­boj com­mu­nity to which Ud­ham Singh be­longed.

Dharam­sot said he will en­sure that the chief min­is­ter sets up chair named af­ter Ud­ham Singh at Guru Nanak Dev Univer­sity (GNDU), Am­rit­sar.

For­mer state min­is­ter Hans Raj Josan de­manded that relics of Ud­ham Singh be brought back to In­dia from the UK. Chan­du­ma­jra sought in­stal­la­tion of Ud­ham Singh’s statue in Par­lia­ment hall.

Ear­lier, mem­bers of the Na­tional Stu­dents Union of In­dia (NSUI), the stu­dent wing of the Congress, gath­ered out­side the Jal­lian­wala Bagh to protest against the Union min­is­ter. They also tried to show black flags to him but po­lice re­strained them.


The Union home min­is­ter termed the killing of nine Cen­tral Re­served Po­lice Force (CRPF) per­son­nel by Maoists in Ch­hat­tis­garh’s Sukma dis­trict as shock­ing. Sev­eral CRPF men were in­jured in an am­bush by the Maoists. In­ter­act­ing with the me­dia on the side­lines of the statue un­veil­ing cer­e­mony, Rajnath said he has is­sued direc­tions to the se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to take ac­tion against the Maoists.

“To­day’s IED blast in Sukma, Ch­hat­tis­garh, is deeply dis­tress­ing. I bow to each and ev­ery se­cu­rity per­son­nel who at­tained mar­tyr­dom while serv­ing the na­tion,” he tweeted. In an­other tweet, he said, “My heart­felt con­do­lence to the fam­i­lies of those per­son­nel who lost their lives in Sukma blast, I pray for the speedy re­cov­ery of the in­jured jawans. I spoke to Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of CRPF rea­gard­ing the Sukma in­ci­dent and asked him to leave for Ch­hat­tis­garh”.


■ Se­cu­rity per­son­nel in­spect the site of an IED blast in the Kis­taram area of Ch­hat­tis­garh’s Sukma dis­trict on Tues­day.


■ Union home min­is­ter Rajnath Singh (C) and oth­ers af­ter un­veil­ing a statue of Sha­heed Ud­ham Singh at Jal­lian­wala Bagh in Am­rit­sar on Tues­day.

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