Three CRPF commandos were killed and over a dozen injured after multiple encounters took place between security forces and Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s worst Maoist violence-affected Sukma district.
Officials said while two commandos, identified as constables Linju N and Fateh Singh had succumbed to their bullet injuries yesterday, their collegaue Lakshman Singh died on Thursday.
At least 15 others, including CoBRA Comamnder PS Yadav and the chief of the state polices’ District Reserve Group (DRG), have been injured in the encounter which ended early on Thursday.
The patrol squad that came under fire yesterday noon in the jungles of the district, has been brought to the Kistaram police station from the encounter site of Dabbanarka in Sukma early on Thursday by multiple Mi-17 helicopter sorties, they said.
Inspector general (Bastar range) SRP Kalluri and Sukma superintendent of police D Shravan are camping at Kistaram, about 500 kms from the state capital to monitor the operations, they said.
The others who sustained bullet and splinter injuries include assistant commandant Yogendra, sub-inspector Rajveer Singh, head constable Santosh, constable Sona Ram and some men of the DRG.
The encounter began when pesonnel of CRPF’s exclusive jungle warfare unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) had the first exchange of fire with Maoists in the jungles of Bastar area.
The CoBRA team encountered multiple ambushes and fire fights beginning 12.30pm on Wednesday and while evacuating the area, heavily armed Maoists engaged them in intermittent gunfire, till late in the night.
“The operation is underway to retrieve the injured jawans. Around 600 personnel (of CRPF and state force) have been pressed into service,” Chhattisgarh’s special director general of police (Anti-Naxal operations) DM Awasthi told PTI.
While the three commandos are said to have lost their lives due to excessive blood loss as their evacuation was delayed due to the ambush put up by Maoists, officials said one of the CoBRA commandos, Fateh Singh, was a highly trained member of the squad who had brought successes for the force in numerous operations.
SI Singh was the first to be hit in the exchange of fire and others were injured in the later part of the operation.
The squad that came under the attack largely belonged to the 208th CoBRA battalion, deployed for undertaking special anti-Naxal operations in the Bastar area, along with few DRG personnel.
Security forces personnel, including those from Central Reserve Police Force, CoBRA and state police, are combing the area, they said.