Forested area, series of landmines: CRPF men walked into death trap in Bihar
It was a death trap -- a hostile terrain and at a forest stretch booby-trapped with landmines – that the CRPF’s elite commandos walked into in Bihar’s remote south on Monday.india Updated: Jul 20, 2016 17:15 IST
It was a death trap -- a hostile terrain and at a forest stretch booby-trapped with landmines – that the CRPF’s elite commandos walked into in Bihar’s remote south on Monday.
As the group of 25 security personnel made their way to the hilltop in a forested area near Dumri Nala along the Gaya-Aurangabad border where Maoists were holding a meeting, the rebels hiding in the hills triggered a series of blasts, killing 10 men, state police chief PK Thakur said.
“The Maoists had laid several IEDs on a narrow passage, which the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) jawans were trying to negotiate on foot, the police chief told HT. They had specific information about the Maoists activity but perhaps, they were caught on the wrong foot due to the treacherous terrain, he said.
“The police party had almost 100 troops. The first group got trapped in an area of land mines and there were serial blasts. The terrain is very difficult there and the extremists were on higher ground,” news agency Reuters quoted Thakur as saying.
The 10-hour gunfight that started at 11am also left five men of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) injured. Three with serious injuries were airlifted to Patna medical college and hospital. Three Maoists were killed in the gunfight and their bodies recovered, he said.
Search operations could only be launched Tuesday morning as there was a heavy exchange of fire the evening before.
Hills and dense forests separate Bihar from Jharkhand and offer a safe hiding place to Maoists who are well acquainted with the topography.
The ambush is significant. In 2015 the Bihar government claimed arresting 527 Maoists, the highest in a year since 2010. According to a union home ministry report, last year also witnessed lowest Maoist violence, which has been plaguing several parts of the country for many years.
The rebels have for decades launched violent strikes and especially targeted security forces from camps in forests and remote areas of central and eastern India.
Bihar, too, has been at the receiving end but Monday’s toll is the highest in two years.
The DGP said it was the CRPF that started the attack. “First there were three casualties on the Maoists’ side and the incident happened after the CRPF men advanced towards them in the heavily forested area…,” he said.
Eight jawans died on the spot, two succumbed to injuries while being taken to hospital, the police chief said.
In February 2015, two CoBRA troopers were killed and 12 injured when Maoits blew up a mini-bus in Gaya district.
Twenty-two of the 38 Bihar districts have a presence of the Left-wing extremists. The CPRF is deployed in many of these areas including Aurangabad, Gaya Jamui and Banka.