Maoist ambush: Baghel was campaigning in Assam after jawans died, says BJP
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh hit out at chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday alleging he was busy campaigning for the Congress in Assam despite the death of 22 security personnel in a Maoist ambush back home on Saturday. Baghel returned from Assam on Sunday evening.
“He is holding rallies there (in Assam), taking out marches ...dancing there ...after such a big incident ...elections have become the chief minister’s first priority..,” Raman Singh said.
22 police and paramilitary personnel were killed and at least two dozen others were injured in Bastar region as the extremists led by their commander Madvi Hidma ambushed the forces after possibly luring them to a stronghold area near the Bijapur-Sukma border during a combing operation. Deaths of five security personnel were confirmed on Saturday, while 18 more bodies were found on Sunday. One jawan was missing after the attack. This was the worst Maoist attack in the last 4 years.
Eight of the deceased were from district reserve guard, six were CoBRA commandos, six others were special task force (STF) members, and one jawan was from the Bastariya battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The police suspect about a dozen Maoists were likely killed in the encounter. While CM Bhupesh Baghel ruled out any intelligence failure, Union home minister Amit Shah said that a befitting reply will be given to Maoists at the right time.
“The entire state is mourning the death of our jawans but the chief minister is enjoying the festival in Assam. What can be more unfortunate than the fact that Bhupesh Baghel is still busy in Assam electioneering despite such a major incident,” said Dharamlal Kaushik, the leader of opposition in the state assembly.
Kaushik said responsibility must be fixed for the operation which went wrong despite the “input of presence of a large number of Maoists”.
In response, the Congress accused the BJP of politicising the martyrdom of slain jawans.
“Raman Singh should first answer what Amit Shah was doing? Was he campaigning in Assam or not? There is no need to politicize Maoist violence. We all know that Maoists are a national problem and both the state and Central governments are working on it,” said Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, spokesperson of the Congress.
Trivedi further alleged that all major attacks in Bastar region took place during the BJP’s rule and the party had no right to sermonise others.
“During the BJP rule of 15 years (2003-2018), the state witnessed some of the biggest attacks. The Bhupesh Baghel government has been using the three-pronged strategy of trust, development and security in Maoist-affected areas, and it has resulted in the weakening of Maoists,” said Trivedi.