Raipur/New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Eleven CRPF personnel were killed and five injured as Maoists ambushed a patrol party with gunfire and explosives in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday. The Maharashtra-Andhra border areas have been sealed, officials said.
The five injured have been brought to Raipur by helicopter for better treatment.
Special Director General (Naxal Operation and Special Intelligence Bureau) D.M. Avasthi told reporters that 110 jawans from Battalion 219 of the Central Reserve Police Force were on a road opening duty when they were ambushed near Kotacheru village in Bhejji of Sukma district, in tribal Bastar region.
“The ambush was followed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in which 11 jawans died,” Avasthi said.
The Maoists also looted 11 rifles from the jawans killed in the two-hour long gunfight, which is ongoing.
Inspector General of Police for Bastar Range Sunderaj P. said the bodies of the jawans killed — Assistant Sub-Inspector Hiralal Jangde, Constables Narendra Kumar Singh, Mangesh Pandey, Rampal Singh Yadav, Gorakhnath, Nandkumar Atram, Satish Chandra Verma, K. Shankar, V.R. Mandey, Jagjit Singh and Suresh — have been brought to Bhejji police station.
Condoling the deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Saddened by the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. Tributes to the martyrs and condolences to their families. May the injured recover quickly.”
“Spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh Ji on the situation in Sukma. He is going to Sukma to take stock of the situation,” he said.
The Home Minister said: “Deeply pained to learn of the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.”
Praising the personnel who died, Chief Minister Raman Singh said: “The CRPF jawans have displayed immense courage and indomitable spirit.”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi strongly condemned the killing of the CRPF men and described it as a dastardly and cowardly act. She saluted the sacrifice of the CRPF men “for their supreme and unforgettable sacrifices” and said her thoughts and prayers were with the families of the victims.
“India stands united in fight against the terrorism and the government should give a befitting reply to the forces spreading terror in India”, she added in a message, according to tweets by the Congress party.