Nearly 22 security personnel have lost their lives after a gruesome encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district. The encounter took place on Saturday but the bodies of 17-18 soldiers were found on Sunday.
Chhattisgarh DGP Ashok Juneja informed that the number of deaths increased to 22 after five security personnel died yesterday in the action.
“During a search operation, the bodies of 17 missing personnel were recovered on Sunday. With this, a total of 22 personnel were killed in the encounter,” police said.
Reports suggest that the weapons of the martyred soldiers are missing. The search operation is still on as there are reports that some soldiers are still missing. “Naxals stole more than two dozen weapons from security personnel after the encounter,” CRPF sources told a news agency.
Separate joint teams of security forces with over 2,000 personnel, launched a major operation from Bijapur and Sukma districts in the Bastar forests on Saturday. These forests are considered a Maoist stronghold. As a patrolling team was heading towards the forest near Jonaguda, Maoists laid an ambush against them, leading to a three-hour-long encounter.
Over 30 security personnel were left injured in the attack. Reports suggest that though the security forces claim that the Maoists also suffered huge casualties, only the body of a woman Naxal was recovered.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to cut his campaign trail in Assam and rush back to New Delhi to take stock of the situation. Shah said that a search operation is underway. “Both sides have suffered losses. Our jawans have lost their lives. I pay tributes to them. I want to assure their families that their sacrifice will not go in vain,” Shah told a news agency.
Meanwhile, Union Defence Rajnath Singh also paid tribute to the martyred soldiers. “They fought with utmost courage, their sacrifice will never be forgotten. My deepest condolences to their families,” he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind also extended his condolences to the families of the bereaved. “The killing of the security personnel while battling Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh is a matter of deep anguish. My condolences to the bereaved families. The nation shares their pain and will never forget this sacrifice,” the President said.