CRPF personnel carry the coffin of a paramilitary soldier who lost his life in an encounter with Maoists in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. (PTI)
CRPF personnel carry the coffin of a paramilitary soldier who lost his life in an encounter with Maoists in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. (PTI)

‘He recently built a house...’: Kin of soldier who died in Chhattisgarh encounter

According to Chhattisgarh Police, 22 security personnel lost their lives in a Naxal attack at the Sukma-Bijapur border and around 31 sustained injuries while fighting the rebels.
By Ritesh Mishra, S Kareemuddin
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2021 10:49 PM IST

Bheema Sodhi, elder brother of Sodhi Narayan - a jawan of the district reserve guard (DRG) who was among the 22 security personnel who got killed in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Saturday - said the family was in deep sorrow. Sodhi said his family was not afraid of Maoists.

“We were five brothers and four are serving as policemen, fighting the Maoists. We are saddened and mourning the loss of my brother but we are not afraid. The locals and villagers are very angry after the attack as many young tribals from the village joined the security forces in the last few years,” Sodhi said. Sodhi Narayan is survived by a wife and four children.

According to Chhattisgarh Police, 22 security personnel lost their lives in a Naxal attack at the Sukma-Bijapur border and around 31 sustained injuries while fighting the rebels.

Soldier of the newly formed CRPF’s Bastraiya Battalion, Somiaya Mandavi, was also among the brave personnel who laid their lives in Saturday’s fierce gunfight. He recently bought a house for his family in his native villages.

Somaiya was a native of Awaapalli and joined the force five years back. CRPF’s Bastraiya Battalion comprises young soldiers of the Bastar region and had been very successful in conducting combing operations because of their knowledge of the local topography.

“He got married three years ago and had a 10-month-old son. Saumaiya recently built a house and was planning a housewarming party on his return in a few weeks,” said Shankar Mandavi, his brother.

Shankar also said that it was because of his brother they could move into a permanent house from a hut. “When he joined the force, it changed the fortune of our family. We don’t know what will happen to us now,” he said.

Also read: Chhattisgarh Maoist attack - CM rules out intelligence failure

The forces recovered 22 bodies of the security personnel from the encounter site while the body of a CoBRA soldier is still missing.

Police said out of 22 jawans who got killed, eight were from the district reserve guard (DRG), seven from CoBRA, six from the special task force (STF) and one from the ‘Bastariya’ battalion of the CRPF.

The CRPF personnel who lost their lives in the encounter were from Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.

“The news of Shaheed Bablu Rabha and other brave soldiers attaining martyrdom while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh is deeply saddening. The entire Assam mourns this loss & our thoughts and prayers are with his family members,” Gaurav Gogoi, Congress leader from Assam, tweeted.

Chief ministers of several states, including Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Assam CM Sarbanda Sonowal, also mourned the death of the brave soldiers.

Local administrative officials in these states said that the families would get the bodies of their beloved on Monday. The deceased soldiers will be cremated with state honours.

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