OVER THE last few years, one of the Chhattisgarh government’s attempts to break the Maoist dominance in Sukma district has been a continued focus on laying down roads. The state government is trying this by connecting Jagargunda with Dornapal in the east, Bijapur in the west, and Kirandul in Dantewada in the north.
All three roads are under construction. The stretch on which the Maoists ambushed a CRPF patrol team on Monday is one of those crucial under-construction roads in south Sukma, one of the most Maoist violence-affected areas.
Of the three under-construction roads, the first is a 75-km stretch of NH-30, connecting Sukma with Konta. The second connects Injeram and Bhejji, which came under attack on March 11, leaving 13 CRPF men dead. The third — the stretch where Monday’s ambush occurred — is a road that connects Dornapal on NH 30, with Jagargunda.
Jagargunda was once considered a trading hub for tribal people of the area. Buses connected the place to Bijapur and Sukma earlier. But it has increasingly come under Maoist control over the years, and the extremists have increasingly damaged the roads connecting Jagargunda in an effort to cut it off from the rest of the state.
Jagargunda has a police station and a CRPF camp. Monday’s encounter took place just off Burkapal. The 56-km under-construction stretch has five police stations and 15 CRPF camps. Burkapal has CRPF’s 74th battalion camp, which came under fire today.
Since 2014, the road has seen 11 incidents of exchange of fire between Maoists and security forces, 18 IED explosions, recovery of 16 IEDs, three civilian deaths, and, before Monday, seven security personnel were killed and 25 injured.
Jharkhand: 4 STF Men Injured in Blast
At least four personnel of the Special Task Force of the Jharkhand police, called the Jharkhand Jaguars, escaped with minor injuries in a mine blast caused by Maoists in the Burhapahar area of Latehar district on Monday. The personnel were airlifted to Ranchi for treatment, where all of them were reported to be out of danger.