Maoists kill 9 CRPF men in Sukma
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.
UNVEILS STATUE OF UDHAM SINGH AT JALLIANWALA BAGH; ‘100TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1919 MASSACRE TO BE OBSERVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY’
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.
CONDEMNS MAOIST ATTACK ON CRPF
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.