Indian left-wing rebels inflict heavy casualty upon gov't force in deadly attack

18:31, April 06, 2010      

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In a major offensive against government security forces in Chhattisgarh, India's left-wing Naxal rebels Tuesday killed 73 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in an ambush in Dantewada district of the state.

At present, a gunbattle is still going on at Jagargunda in Chintalnar block of Dantewada district between hundreds of armed Naxals and about 100 CRPF personnel, while government is dispatching troop reinforcement.

The Naxals attacked the vehicles of security personnel between Chintalnar and Tademetla area. They first triggered a landmine blast and the moment the vehicle stopped, the rebels ambushed the CRPF team from a hill top, said a CRPF officer.

"The total casualty is 73 and about 12 CRPF personnel have been injured," CRPF DIG (Anti-Naxal operations) S.R.P. Kalluri said here.

Chhattisgarh Police said that reinforcement has reached the ambush site and recovered 40 bodies.

"The CRPF party was out for last three days. The reinforcements have reached. We are trying to evacuate the injured through helicopters. The security forces party was more than 80. We have collected 40 bodies till now," Chhattisgarh Police spokesperson R. K. Vij said.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said more forces have been deployed to fight Naxals.

"The Government of Chhattisgarh and the CRPF had together planned this operation. They have mobilized both the state forces and CRPF. But, something has gone wrong. They seem to have walked into a camp or a trap set up by the Naxalites," Chidambaram said in New Delhi.

"The casualties are quite high and I am deeply shocked. I am sorry for those who have lost their lives. This shows the savage nature of the CPI (Maoist) and the brutality and the savagery they are capable of. Senior officers are going to that area. We will await more reports from them," Chidambaram added.

The death toll is expected to rise as many seriously wounded could succumb to their injuries, said the officials.

"We are trying to send reinforcement forces to the spot. The forces are facing difficulty as the area has been blocked by the Naxals. Naxals had built bunkers on the hill top and CRPF personnel were not aware of the bunkers. The attack was pre- planned. They first attacked the CRPF mobile van and followed it up by firing on the team," said Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan.

The site of the attack also is located at Chhattisgarh's mineral rich Bastar region spreading out in about 40,000 sq km is made up of five districts -- Bijapur, Kanker, Narayanpur, Bastar and Dantewada.

The latest attack came barely two days after Naxalites triggered a landmine blast killing 11 security personnel and injuring many in the Koraput district of the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Naxal insurgency as India's "greatest internal security challenge".

The government recently began a major offensive against the rebels in several states, with Home Minister announcing that the offensive against the rebels would intensify in days to come.

The rebels have warned that such attacks would intensify unless the government halted its offensive against them. Thousands have died during the Naxalites' 20-year fight for communist rule.

Source: Xinhua


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