An Indian Air Force Mi-17 chopper evacuating five injured security personnel had a miraculous escape when the Maoists opened indiscriminate firing on it near Chintagufa in Sukma district, about 450 km south of Raipur.
Four jawans of the elite fighting unit of Cobra (Commando battalion for Resolute Action) of the CRPF and a state police personnel sustained serious injuries in an encounter with the Maoists near remote forested terrain of Chintagufa on Friday.
"During emergency evacuation of the injured personnel, the Maoists opened fire on the chopper. But our men are safe, air-lifted and admitted at the Maharani hospital in Jagdalpur for immediate medical attention," the additional director general of police (anti-Maoist operation) RK Vij told Hindustan Times. The extent of damage to the helicopter could not be known.
According to sources at Maharani Hospital, the co-pilot of the chopper, MK Tiwari, sustained bullet injuries to his feet. However, Vij denied that the pilots were hit by bullets.
The encounter resulted after the rebels opened fire on a joint team of Cobra, CRPF and the district police. The attack was retaliated. Five personnel were injured. "The forces were out on search operation," Vij stated.
In another incident of a landmine blast triggered by the rebels, a police constable was critically injured in Bijapur district, some 350 km south of Raipur.
The left wing extremists have a presence in 16 out of the 27 districts of Chhattisgarh where the Bastar zone continues to be a Maoist hotbed.