NEW DELHI: After a string of surrenders in Naxal-affected Chhattisgarh, Maoists on Monday carried out a major attack killing 14 CRPF jawans, including two officers, in the Elamagunda forests, 10-12 km from Chintagufa in Sukma district in the State. A Deputy Commandant and an Assistant Commandant of the central paramilitary force were among the victims, sources said.
The attack came at a time when a team of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), headed by Shyam Saran, was visiting Chhattisgarh to assess the Maoist situation in the State. The NSAB members had met Chief Minister Raman Singh on Sunday and were supposed to travel to Dantewada and Bastar areas. The sources said Raman Singh, who is currently in Delhi, was expected to reach Raipur on Monday night. The sources said the anti-Naxal operation, deep in the jungle, started 9-10 days back to sanitise areas in Chintagufa. The operation was being carried out by the 223 and 206 battalions when Naxals ambushed and opened indiscriminate firing on them on Monday morning. The ultras reportedly used villagers as human shields against the CRPF jawans and it restricted the CRPF response. The sources said there were around 5,000 boots on the ground and estimated that ultras of different cadre numbered around 1,000-1,500.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who will visit Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, strongly condemned the attack.