Updated: February 3, 2015 4:06:44 am
Six other security personnel — three each from police and BSF — were injured in the attack, who were later airlifted to Raipur.
According to the statement issued by Chhattisgarh Police, “A joint party of BSF and the district police left towards Habalras and Panavar village around 4 pm following specific inputs about Naxal activities.” The Maoists allegedly attacked the police team between these villages and killed Bande thana in-charge Avinash Sharma and Gopniya Sainik Sonu Ram Gawde.
However, photographs of the ambush, accessed by The Indian Express, suggest that either the policemen were not a part of any operation or they were extremely casual in their movement. While all the personnel were on bike, none of the security personnel in the photographs had fatigues on him. Sharma wore black leather shoes, besides pink shirt and blue trousers, extremely unusual for the leader of an anti-Naxal operation.
The killings are significant because they took place after a long period of relative peace in Kanker — the northern most district of Bastar.
In the last few years, Maoist violence has been restricted to south Bastar districts like Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada. In fact, Kanker did not report death of any personnel in a Maoist attack in 2014 and record two in 2013.
Gawde, a surrendered Maoist, was posted as a Gopniya Sainik (informer). The state police often deploy surrendered Maoists as Gopniya Sainiks and pay them monthly stipend of Rs 5,000.
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