There were tears and grim resolve on Wednesday as policemen joined Home Minister P Chidambaram in a 'martyrs ceremony' to pay homage to the 76 security personnel massacred by guerrillas in the worst attack since the Maoist rebellion began 43 years ago.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Governor Shekhar Dutt were also present at Jagdalpur, the district headquarters of Bastar district, about 300 km from the state capital Raipur, at the function to remember the dead paramilitary personnel.
As Chidambaram, Singh, Dutt and several other top state authorities laid wreaths on the coffins, several policemen assembled at the police lines here broke down.
The policemen raised their guns in air in grief and anger and vowed to avenge the killings by the Maoists who had orchestrated the massacre.
Hundreds of Maoists trapped over 80 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on a hilly stretch in Dantewada district Tuesday morning and went on a killing spree using pressure bombs and automatic weapons.
In no time, at least 75 CRPF men and a Chhattisgarh police officer lay dead in the inhospitable area in the heart of the country where the rebels have run a de facto state for decades, enlisting the support of a large number of impoverished tribals.
According to a home ministry spokesperson in New Delhi, Chidambaram will also review the security situation in the state before returning to the national capital in the evening.
"Something has gone very wrong... They seem to have walked into a trap set by the Naxalites. This shows the savage nature of the CPI-Maoist, the brutality and savagery they are capable of," he had said Tuesday.