In a brazen attack ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Maoists on Tuesday killed 16 people, including 11 CRPF, four police jawans and one civilian, in an ambush near Jiram Ghati, Chhattisgarh, where they had in 2013 wiped out the State Congress party leadership.
Home Ministry officials said a Road opening Party (RoP) of 48 security personnel came under heavy fire around 10.20 am near Tongpal, about 8 km from Jiram Ghati. “Over 100 heavily armed Maoists, occupying strategic positions, started indiscriminate firing and triggered landmine blasts. An assistant commandant and inspector of CRPF’s 80th battalion are believed to be among the victims. This was the first RoP and by the time the second RoP could reach the spot, it was all over. Three injured personnel, including two CRPF and one State police jawans, were evacuated to a Raipur hospital,” officials said. Pointing out clear violation of Standard Operating Procedures by the security personnel while conducting the RoP, officials said they had become too visible and predictable for the ultras since they were following the same formation and time for road opening exercises in the last few days near Takbada village in the same area. A Home Ministry official said it was a textbook attack by the ultras.
“They had the advantage of location and time to ambush the security forces. They had also mined the area heavily to prevent reinforcements from reaching the spot. The Maoists had looted 15 automatic weapons of security personnel. We are sending additional forces to launch an offensive against them,” the official said, adding that Maoists from Odisha could have sneaked into the State to carry out the attack.