Death toll rises to 25 in Bengal Maoist attack
The death toll in Monday's Maoist attack on Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp in the hamlet of Silda in West Midnapore district of West Bengal has crept up to 25, reports Debdutta Ghosh. Mounting toll | Specialkolkata Updated: Feb 16, 2010 12:42 IST
The death toll in Monday's Maoist attack on Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp in the hamlet of Silda in West Midnapore district of West Bengal has crept up to 25.
While 24 victims are EFR jawans, 22-year old Gurupada Hasda is a villager who died from a splinter injury from a landmine blast about 2 km away from the spot.
On Monday, at 5 in the evening, a team of 60-70 Maoists raided the camp for 15 minutes snuffing out 24 jawans in a storm of bullets and burning down the entire camp.
Silda is about 170 kms to the west of Kolkata and only seven kms away from the Bengal-Jharkhand border.
Monday's attack was the biggest by the ultras in terms of scale and casualties in Bengal since 1967, the year of the Naxalbari uprising.
"A group of rebels entered the camp in a pick-up van and started shooting with precision at the jawans who were either in their toilets, or eating. Since jawans usually keep their weapons beside their pillows before leaving the camp, they couldn't react when the firing began," said Tulshi Karmakar, who lives just opposite the EFR camp.
While this first wave of attack diverted the attention of the jawans towards the main entrance, the second wave was launched from all sides. Rebels pooped up on the boundary wall and started shooting.
"Before leaving they set the camp on fire," said Karmakar.
On Monday morning, state police officials led by Bhupinder Singh, director general of police, reached the hamlet that seemed to be going through an undeclared bandh.
On Tuesday noon the marks of the previous evening's attack were fresh all over the camp.
The camp was charred beyond recognition. Iron skeletons of beds stood out in a place where everything else was burnt to ashes.
The belongings of the jawans including metal trunks and their contents lay strewn all over the place after Monday's mayhem.
About 25 jawans, who went missing after the attack, have returned after spending the night in the forest where they went hiding.