25 CRPF personnel killed in Sukma: Day after, ground Zero; ‘intel failure, human shields and huge arms loot’

Around 200m from the road, the trees allow very little sun, and the terrain is rocky and uneven. In one corner, next to a stone, is a small patch of leaves now shaded red.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Burkapal (sukma) | Updated: April 26, 2017 5:11 am
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THE ROAD is orange, indicating that work on it is incomplete. Two small bridges stand forlorn and half-made, dusty diversions circumventing them. Deep inside Sukma, this is what the CRPF sought to protect when they were ambushed by Maoists Monday, leading to the death of 25 personnel.

Around 200m from the road, the trees allow very little sun, and the terrain is rocky and uneven. In one corner, next to a stone, is a small patch of leaves now shaded red. A little distance away, in a small cove, is another, bigger patch of red. Three jawans died here. In the middle, is an olive-green shoe.

On Tuesday, these are the signs that tell the tale at Ground Zero, of the worst Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh in seven years.

Those who survived, or have since been investigating the attack, speak of other things. Of a U-shaped ambush by at least 150 Maoists, of an intelligence failure, of possible genital mutilation, of human shields. And, of the weapons that are missing: 12 AK 47s, five UBGLs (Under-Barrel Grenade Launchers), two LMGs, two INSAS rifles, four AKM assault rifles, five wireless sets, two binoculars, 22 bullet-proof jackets, and 59 AK magazines and ammunition.

Officers say that at 6 am on Monday, 76 jawans left the CRPF’s Burkapal camp to secure the road and under-construction bridge on the crucial link between Dornapal on NH 30 and Jagargunda, a length of 56 km. The stretch is divided between the Burkapal camp and the one in Chintalnar, about 5 km away.

At 12.55 pm, they were on their way back when they came under a hail of fire from a massive, planned ambush, in an area considered a Maoist stronghold.

At the site, the earth speaks of the weapons used. In one corner is an improvised explosive, fitted on the end of an arrow nestled in the ground. In another, is the shell of an SLR rifle. Officers say the Maoists used AK 47S, SLRs, INSAS rifles, factory-made hand grenades, and indigenously made explosives.

CRPF officers probing the encounter say the spatter of blood at various spots indicates that the security personnel were not bunched together, with many in “good defensive positions”, covered by rocks at a height, or undergrowth.

Asked how so many were killed then, CRPF DIG D P Upadhyaya said, “There were 32 men on the northern flank, eight personnel on the road, and 36 on the south flank. The southern flank came under fire. There was a huge number of Maoists, who used human shields during the exchange of fire. Some of the fire came from behind villagers in Burkapal, which prevented one flank from joining the other. There were also armed Maoists in civilian clothing in the area, and therefore we could not immediately determine their identity under fire.”

He said, “The jawans had taken good positions and were not moving when they were attacked, and fought bravely… drag marks at the spot indicate that some Maoists have been killed as well. But no bodies have been recovered.”

Another senior CRPF officer, from the COBRA battalion, says it was clear that the troops had been attacked first with “distraction fire”. “It is natural to turn towards where the gunshots are coming from. But the majority of firing immediately came from the other side,” he said.

Officers say there are signs of genital mutilation, too, on the body of one slain jawan.

This attack comes close on the heels of another ambush on a road opening party on March 11, which left 13 CRPF men dead on the road between Injeram and Bhejji, 20 km from Burkapal in a straight line.

But the similarities don’t end there. That attack was also on a road-opening party, and police suspect that it was carried out by the same powerful Maoist military battalion operating in the area. “It is likely that senior commanders like Situ, Nagesh and Sonu, and chief of the battalion Hidma, were present,” said a senior officer.

Much like the Bhejji encounter, there has been a huge loss of weapons. And, both attacks were just a kilometre from CRPF camps. Newly appointed Inspector General of Police (Bastar), Vivekananda, who visited the spot on Tuesday morning, says that while the current spate of attacks is disturbing, they need to be looked at “holistically”.

“It is unfortunate that these attacks have taken place, and we will respond. But a holistic view needs to be taken. Much of Bastar is now increasingly accessible to forces, and these are acts of increasing desperation,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the villagers of Burkapal sat quietly in a bunch outside the camp. Pawan Kumar, a resident with a house on the road, said that he stayed inside when the firing that lasted two hours took place.

In the 15 camps that dot the road, there is much anger: at the government, the hostile situation around them, even the media. The anger also hides sorrow, of 25 friends and colleagues lost. One jawan in Burkapal said, “Not one of us has eaten or slept all night.”

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  1. A
    Ashish Patidar
    Apr 28, 2017 at 12:22 am
    i am very sad on killing of our beloved jawan ....now search operation is launched and with high moral pressure and anger crpf go for hunt BUT BUT revenge must be with culprit only not to the innocent adiwasi.. here poor are killing poor.Bharat MATA is crying. not to forgot solution is on table only. i am confused
    Reply
    1. P
      Pinna
      Apr 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm
      Whatsoever, now not even an iota of sympathy left for even the neighbouring villagers, who provided a human shield and pla an active role in the attack on CRPFjawans. The force should take up the challenge and start decimating the Maoists in a phased and brutal manner. Apparently, the Maoists have not yet felt the retribution of the force. Enough is enough. And the action need not be advertised.
      Reply
      1. A
        Ashok Kumar Majhi
        Apr 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm
        Naxals are proves their failure and the future uncertainty of their organization people's support them just with terror.The sacrifice of Jawans gives a great challenge for CRPF operation procedure and it's a great challenge for the senior commanders.It,s not time of conference and meeting .The cobras required to change their policy of duty and operation in such dangerous naxal affected area like sukma and any other areas manders stop your speech and take position to give proper answer to the nation and save the life of jawan their family and civil people also govt property Jai Hind.
        Reply
        1. J
          Joshyramamurthy Murthy
          Apr 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm
          Crpf means corrupt rascals and public ers 1.how come they don't have even one informer in village s 2.what about workers who stay there Don't they get sound of digging in pits in night? 3.while ing nearby trees from 6am to 12 pm have they not seen mine near trees 4. What they do with mine detector? Are they licking it? 5. 100 s unable to detect or even doubt 300 armed men who were there just 100 meter away? 6.why not shoot shephards who came there? After all crpf are bloody murderers of adivasi
          Reply
          1. V
            Vinitsharma
            Apr 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm
            Yesterday Mr Awasthi briefed to ndtv that group of 25 personnel were having lunch break when got ambushed. What is the SOP for lunch break during operations / patrolling? Whether Indian media can report fairly on this matter keeping aside pressure from the top in the larger interest. Fair report may save lives in future.
            Reply
            1. R
              rama murthy
              Apr 26, 2017 at 2:39 pm
              But three dogs somehow escaped firing, they were so happy to eat the food left a way by crpf. They spoke themselves that humans are s who kill themselves and were happy to note that they have full freedom to roam.
              Reply
              1. B
                Bharat
                Apr 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm
                Bring out their masters in our society hiding behind CPI SFI JNU DU positions and give them the same treatment. Message will be driven. Stop accepting surrender of Maoists just pump them out. Surprised Ariel survellience not carried out. Deploy all force and flush them out. They live on extortion from the various big and small businesses . Stop this extortion and funding from China. Seal Chattisgarh borders then Odhisa and Telangana AP finally Gadhchiroli Maharashtra. Internal war will resolve this once and for all. First evacuate the villagers and move to safe place. No rations No food No money starve and finish them in cities and rural places both.
                Reply
                1. T
                  Tejal Dixit
                  Apr 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm
                  OK IT WAS AN AMBUSH. but these types of publicity stunts to encourage the maoists, also show the curropt media. Everywhere the world is facing a corrupt media. This violence by maoists needs to be pla down by media. The govt. and security forces should take strong silent steps. That would really take the wind out of the maoists.Which does include W.Bengal cm, Mamta Bannerjee. She has become a wicked villain for India.
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    pravin
                    Apr 26, 2017 at 1:15 pm
                    now india will be run by mutiple parallel govts one bogus EVM fraud so called sanghi govt - but there is tremendous hatred and unrest in public for fraud undemocratic govt aka US agents , tribal armed govt so called / labelled maoist naxals , muslim govt by AIMPL and sharia -
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Ahmed
                      Apr 26, 2017 at 12:24 pm
                      If anyone kills a single Innocent it is as if he has killed the w humanity !!! Islam PEace
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        John Johnny
                        Apr 26, 2017 at 10:24 am
                        CCTV camera's on city streets, in ATM's in Delhi Buses, but no Video cameras on these CRPF jeeps. Had there been one atleast some of these naxal b@stards could have been recorded.
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                        1. P
                          pravin
                          Apr 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm
                          yes one naxal john johnny was licking sanghhi masters
                          Reply
                        2. A
                          asif
                          Apr 26, 2017 at 10:08 am
                          nice job by Maoists keep it,please. istan proud of you.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            rakesh
                            Apr 26, 2017 at 11:23 am
                            Asif--u r Sooar ka pilla...
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              sridhar rao
                              Apr 26, 2017 at 11:55 am
                              Pigs level of thinking is manifested by apig called asif mulla pig
                              Reply
                              1. G
                                GirishChu
                                Apr 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm
                                Nice Paid Comment by FAKE bhakt...!!! if you have only one father, then write your real name and not the fake ones. people dont get fooled by this fake name. he is a paid B stard to spread hate.
                                Reply
                              2. R
                                romi
                                Apr 26, 2017 at 9:45 am
                                shameful for those who kill their own country men for what ever reason its high time these people are regarded as terrorists & no mercy is shown to them
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  matt
                                  Apr 26, 2017 at 9:28 am
                                  Blaming on everything Intel failure, this and that. So many times this has been happening but government is unwilling take any responsibility except blaming on everything around them . It is so demoralizing to our Jawans .It is unfortunate our government will do nothing other than some band aid and some lip service till it happens again. It is important to have good human intelligence such infiltrating in naxals camps improving the training of our jawans by spending more money. and determined efforts to kill them by developing a good strategy.We have impotent shameless politicians who just make big statement like Rajnath Singh calling it is cold blooded murder . As if naxals care about it
                                  Reply
                                  1. I
                                    Indian First
                                    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:57 am
                                    An eye for an eye we can give a reply, but what about human rights commission, media and others folks, do you think they will let go of the opportunity? they will pounce on Center and try tearing its image. What happened is very wrong, this GOVT should not worry about the consequences anymore enough said now guns should do the talks.
                                    Reply
                                  2. S
                                    Sreesheel Sreekumar
                                    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:23 am
                                    Left Wing Extremism, is spread over several districts spanning different states. They commit a crime in one state and the next day they are in a different state ! Hence, the involvement of the Centre is absolutely essential. There should a unified command leading a group of Central Paramilitary forces and Special Task Forces from the state police, like in J&K ! Chidambaram's plan of "Clear, Hold and Execute" is the ideal and only way out !
                                    Reply
                                    1. I
                                      Indian
                                      Apr 26, 2017 at 9:22 am
                                      Biggest reason for all failures of CRPF and other CAPFs is that it is commanded by IPS who firstly are located in capitals and never take part in operations. Few who make an attempt fail as they have no capability to handle insurgency operations. CRPF and other CAPFs thus are functioning without leadership. This reason is never highlighted
                                      Reply
                                      1. I
                                        Indian First
                                        Apr 26, 2017 at 9:59 am
                                        I respect your feelings, not sure what to tell. This is phew what to say man its all bad and blood.
                                        Reply
                                      2. S
                                        S. Gowrishankar,
                                        Apr 26, 2017 at 9:09 am
                                        For the sake of a nation sacrifice the jawans but wipe out the naxals whoever they are. Show no mercy. The government if it is worth a salt should punish the naxals without delay. Where are the IAS and IPS officers? What happened to their brains? After successfully completing their civil service examinations and getting a decent job, those officers have they forgotten to use their brain? Drive those IAS officers to the fore front of the operation. Let them face the bullets. Why only the ordinary jawans? Throw those IAS and IPS officers into the Maoist bastion and let 150 IAS officers face the armed maosits. These officers are happily sitting in the air conditioned rooms, cannot use their brain but enjoy at the cost of the CRPF jawans. What a pity? Throw those ic officers out. Bring some brilliant strategists who are not IAS officers and let them handle the situation. Tell the IAS and IPS officers responsible for this situation to go and sweep the roads and clean them.
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          Shridhar Shettigar
                                          Apr 26, 2017 at 9:32 am
                                          Whatever you do poor people gets killed, both CRPF jawans and naxalites... The political, business and IAS lobby create such a situation in the poor tribal belts that they are forced to take up the arms and eventually get killed. The day the political , business or top official cl start getting the heat instead of poor CRPF jawans we can find some solutions for this problem.
                                          Reply
                                        2. A
                                          ABC
                                          Apr 26, 2017 at 8:49 am
                                          Surgical strike on CRPF
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            S. Gowrishankar,
                                            Apr 26, 2017 at 9:11 am
                                            Foolish strike. The perpetrators will not go unpunished.
                                            Reply
                                            1. A
                                              ABC
                                              Apr 26, 2017 at 10:58 am
                                              Ok, they will be punished and then again after a few months/years another incident. Is this the solution? The problem with BJP is the same that was with NDA. Leaders are unprofessional. More than industry leaders, the political leadership should have the ability to handle and difuse crisis. Always heavy hand will not resolve the matter. You have KASHMIR as the the best example. Blaming another country for the unrest is a very convenient cover up for your own incompetency.
                                            2. S
                                              S. Gowrishankar,
                                              Apr 28, 2017 at 4:57 pm
                                              You are underestimating the patience the government of India which represents 1.25 billion people. The happenings in Kashmir can be controlled in no time but the people in the valley are being given a long time to mend their ways. If 1.25 billion people lose their patience, I do not have to tell what can happen to the stupid people of Kashmir. Similarly if you think punishing the maos is going lead to another mishap like this, you are wrong. You must know what happened to Khalistan s, the maos in Tamilnadu and Veerappan in Tamilnadu. All were wiped out. Even the bandit queen was wiped out from Chambal. Who are these ic Maoists? It takes a short time only to wipe them out. However those s are being time to change their ways and their own fellow citizens who are CRPF jawans paying the price to enable them change their ways. If they don't, well God help them and no one can stop the government from wiping them out.
                                              Reply
                                            3. I
                                              Imi
                                              Apr 26, 2017 at 8:21 am
                                              Where is our army chief - he talks so much on Kashmir, was he sleeping ? Remember what goes around comes around. Where are all the BJP bafoons - we dont hear them say much.
                                              Reply
                                              1. R
                                                Rajveer Singh
                                                Apr 26, 2017 at 9:25 am
                                                Its political propa a to talk on Kashmir . Indian army looks like cadet corps how they will face stan or china. 1971 was just trap of stan army but it looks stani have gone far ahead and Indian army in reverse gear
                                                Reply
                                                1. I
                                                  Indian First
                                                  Apr 26, 2017 at 10:02 am
                                                  What does the Army got to do with this? CRPF is different group dont you know the difference? Respect our forces first instead of calling them useless and calling names. Pray for the departed souls, Naxalites will not be spared by our forces.
                                                  Reply
                                                2. R
                                                  Raghu Raman
                                                  Apr 26, 2017 at 7:53 am
                                                  Indian central government should act the way what Srilankan government did to LTTE. The left, the liberals all enjoy too much democracy without accountability. If we don't act now we lose more lives of CRPF jeans.
                                                  Reply
                                                  1. S
                                                    S. Gowrishankar,
                                                    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:12 am
                                                    You are right. We must learn.
                                                    Reply
                                                    1. I
                                                      Indian First
                                                      Apr 26, 2017 at 10:02 am
                                                      10 on 10 correct
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                                                      Dr Urmi Mehta
                                                      Apr 26, 2017 at 7:50 am
                                                      This is really very sad and sameful for India,such a huge country...Govt.shd have to do some strict action against them without any type of politics.
                                                      Reply
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