INDIAN ministers on Monday mourned the deaths of 17 paramilitary troopers, who were ambushed in an attack by Maoists militants in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
The strike, in forested areas in Sukma district on Saturday, was the deadliest attack on security forces by the left-wing rebels in the Asian country in the past three years.
A group of 250 Maoists opened fire and triggered explosions targeting a joint patrol comprising more than 100 personnel from the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and state police.
The operation lasted for at least five hours and bodies of 17 security personnel, who were missing after the crash, were found only later on Sunday.
Senior ministers, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Information Minister Prakash Javdekar, paid tributes to the paramilitary personnel.
“Salute to 17 brave CRPF soldiers, who were martyred in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh.
“After three years, the Maoists have launched such an attack. The state government should keep maximum vigil,’’ Javdekar said.
Fourteen more security personnel were injured in the attack. The region, considered a hotbed of Maoist rebels, is not far from the Chintagufa area, where 25 CRPF troopers were killed in an ambush by the militants in April 2017.
The left-wing guerrillas, who reject parliamentary democracy, say their armed rebellion aims to secure rights for the poor and marginalized. They operate in forest belts in several states across India.
Chhattisgarh is one of the states, worst affected by the Maoist insurgency, which has left more than 3,100 civilians, militants and security personnel dead over the last two decades, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. (dpa/NAN)
– Mar. 23, 2020 @ 11:59 GMT |