7 security personnel killed in Maoist attacks in 1 week: Cops
The incident came a day after a head constable of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) was killed after a pressure IED planted by suspected Maoists went off in Narayanpur district on Saturday morning.
Seven security personnel, including an army jawan, have been killed in suspected Maoist attacks across Chhattisgarh in the past one week, police officers said on Monday.
On Sunday, army jawan Moti Ram Anchla (28), a resident of Bade Tevda village in Kanker district, was killed allegedly by Maoists when he was visiting a market Useli village under Amabeda police station limits, a senior police officer said.
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“He was visiting the market when suspected Maoists, dressed as civilians, shot him from point-blank range, killing him on the spot,” Kanker superintendent of police Shalabh Sinha said.
Locals present on the spot, the SP said, heard the suspected Maoists raise slogans after shooting the army jawan and before fleeing the spot. “No pamphlet of Maoists was recovered from the spot,” added Sinha.
A case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered, said police.
Tevda, who was from the Army Service Corps, was posted in Assam. According to the police, he had come home to meet his pregnant wife.
The incident came a day after a head constable of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) was killed after a pressure improvised explosive device (IED) planted by suspected Maoists went off in Narayanpur district on Saturday morning.
“The incident took place near Batum village under the Orchha police station limits,” said Narayanpur additional superintendent of police Hemsagar Sidar. “A patrolling team was advancing through Batum, when head constable Sanjay Lakra, from CAF’s 16th battalion, inadvertently stepped over a pressure IED connection which triggered the blast, leading to his death.”
A day before, three District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel, including an assistant sub-inspector, were killed in an encounter with Maoists in Bastar’s Sukma district. A police team was on a search operation, when Maoists opened fire on them in the Jagargonda area. “The encounter lasted for 20 minutes,” a senior officer from the district police said.
On February 20, two police personnel were killed allegedly by Maoists in Rajnandgaon district. The two personnel— head constable Rajesh Singh Rajput of the Rajnandgaon district police and constable Anil Kumar Samrat, attached to the CAF — were heading towards Maharashtra border from Bortalab police camp for some work when they were attacked by suspected Maoists, a senior police officer said, requesting anonymity.
The recent Maoist attacks have come even as the Union government has maintained that there has been a massive decline in violence related to the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE). Last month, Union home minister Amit Shah said the Centre was aiming to make the country free from Maoism before the 2024 general elections.
“The BJP government not only ensured employment and education to the youths who used to pick weapons, but it also worked to eliminate by fighting those who had weapons in their hands. Our government’s effort is to make the country free of Maoism before the 2024 parliamentary polls,” Shah said on January 8 while addressing a rally at Korba city in Chhattisgarh, the worst LWE-hit state in the country.
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In December, Union minister of state (home) Nityanand Rai in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said, “Incidents of LWE violence have reduced by 77% from high of 2213 in 2010 to 509 in 2021.”
Earlier this month, Shah chaired the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on LWE, where he credited the Centre’s three-pronged strategy — a “ruthless approach to curb extremist violence”, better coordination with the affected states and development through public participation — as reason for the dip in Maoist-related incidents.
The Union minister also said the number of civilian and security personnel killed in LWE incidents declined to 98 in 2022 from 1,005 in 2010 while the number of districts affected dropped from 90 to 45.