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17 security personnel killed in deadliest Maoist ambush

Maoist attack in Sukma

Approx Read Time: 5 minutes 

In News:

  • Confirming the worst fears, bodies of 17 security personnel who had been declared missing after an encounter with Maoists on 21st March in the jungles of Minpa in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, have been recovered.
  • All those killed were from District Reserve Guards — comprising mostly local youth and surrendered Maoists who are comfortable in the harsh terrain and are very tough fighters — and STF.
  • This is the biggest Maoist attack on security forces since the attack in Sukma in 2017 when 24 CRPF personnel, part of a road opening party, were killed.
  • Bastar police has also been unable to trace, 12 AK-47s, one each of UBGL, INSAS, LMG that the men were carrying. It is believed that these were stolen by the Naxals.

The operation:

  • Based on information that a large number of Maoists were gathering near Elmagunda, a team of over 600 personnel of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Special Task Force (STF) of the state police and CoBRA commandos of the CRPF were sent on an operation on 21st March.
  • The personnel didn’t find any Maoist presence near Elmagunda and were on their way back when they were ambushed (a surprise attack) by over 250 Maoists in the jungles of Minpa.
  • Maoists — apparently from the dreaded 1 Battalion — had set up IED traps for the security men and taken firing positions on high ground.
  • When the forces came within range, the rebels triggered explosions and laid down heavy fire from their hidden positions.
  • Wooden plaques, carrying messages from the Maoists, were nailed to tree trunks. One of them read, ‘Boycott the fake Rajya Sabha election in Chhattisgarh’.

A worrying sign:

  • The first such major attack in nearly three years, reinforces the suspicion that the relative calm is misleading.
  • There are worrying signs and pointers to tactical inconsistencies as the men remained untraceable till their bodies were recovered.
  • Further, there are suggestions within Chhattisgarh that its heartland politics is turning the focus away from anti-Naxal operations, and that Bastar needs priority, efficient handling.

About: Communist Party of India (Maoist)

  • The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is a Maoist communist party in India which aims to overthrow the government of India through people’s war.
  • It was founded in September 2004, through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People’s War (People’s War Group), and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI).
  • The CPI (Maoist) are often referred to as the Naxalites in reference to the Naxalbari insurrection conducted by radical Maoists in West Bengal in 1967.
  • People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) is the armed wing of the CPI (Maoists).
  • It is designated as a terrorist organization in India under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

What do they want?

  • The Maoist claim to be fighting for the rights of the tribes in the forest belt around central India.
  • The rebels’ military strategy is loosely based on the Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.
  • Its immediate aim is to accomplish the New Democratic Revolution in India by overthrowing imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism only through a Protracted People’s War.
  • The ultimate aim of the party is to bring about communism.

Geographical spread:

  • As per the Indian government, armed activity by the “Left Wing” extremists has been noticed in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • While, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are under its ideological influence.
Maoist attack
Maoist attack

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