Home minister Shah reaches Chhattisgarh, to meet injured jawans
Union home minister Amit Shah reached Chhattisgarh on Monday following Saturday’s Maoist attack in the state’s Bastar region, which claimed the lives of at least 22 security personnel, an official said. Shah will visit the site where Maoists attacked and killed the security personnel in a forest along the border between the Bijapur and Sukma districts over the weekend, they added. Shah will also hold a review meeting and meet the jawans injured in the Maoist attack led by the commander of battalion number-1 Madvi Hidma.
Shah was received by Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel in Jagdalpur and later the Union home minister laid wreaths at the coffins of 14 security personnel, who lost their lives in the Maoist attack, in Police Lines in Jagdalpur, a senior official said.
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Amit Shah will later chair a high-level meeting at the Police Coordination Centre on the situation, which will be attended by Bhupesh Baghel, senior officials of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Shah will then leave for the CRPF's Basaguda camp in Bijapur in a helicopter and will interact and lunch with the personnel of the force and state police. He will later go to Raipur and visit three hospitals where the injured personnel are admitted and leave for Delhi at 5.30pm on Monday.
Shah held a top-level meeting on Sunday with senior officers, including home secretary Ajay Bhalla, intelligence bureau director Arvind Kumar and senior CRPF officials, in New Delhi on the incident. Shah said a befitting response will be given to those responsible for the Maoist attack. “Our security men have lost their lives, we will not tolerate this bloodshed and a befitting reply will be given at an appropriate time,” he said.
The firefight broke out between the forces and the Maoists around 11.10am on Saturday and both sides used grenade launchers during the attack. The team of the security forces, about 460 of them, later moved towards an open area to facilitate the evacuation of the injured. The troops retrieved the body of a woman from the Maoist group along with an INSAS rifle in an operation later. Officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday that Maoists carried out a “U-type” ambush after luring security personnel into a trap with the input of the possible presence of Hidma.
Officials aware of the developments said the number of Maoists killed in an encounter with security forces over the weekend could be between 12 and 20. They added intelligence inputs have suggested that the extremists used grenade launchers in the ambush.