Sukma encounter: Bodies of 17 jawans recovered, toll rises to 22
One jawan is still missing; some weapons of the security forces missing too, according to an official
Police recovered bullet-riddled bodies of 17 jawans in the jungles of Chattisgarh on April 4, raising to 22 the number of security personnel killed in a fierce gunbattle with Naxals the previous day — the biggest massacre in more than a year that also left 30 injured.
The dead include personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) and the District Reserve Guard (DRG), the official said. It was not clear how many were from which unit.
Eighteen jawans were missing after five security personnel were killed on April 3 in the fierce gun battle with Naxals in a forest along the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh, police had said.
“On Sunday, bodies of 17 missing personnel were recovered during a search operation,” the official said. Some weapons of the security forces were missing, he added.
Two bodies have been retrieved and choppers have been sent to recover the bodies of other jawans, Chattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP) D.M Awasthi said earlier on Sunday, adding that one jawan was still missing.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on April 4 and directed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) DG Kuldiep Singh to visit the encounter site. Mr. Baghel who was in Assam for election campaign is returning to Chhattisgarh.
Five security personnel, including two from the CRPF, were killed and more than 12 others were injured in an encounter with Maoists in Sukma district on Saturday. Two Maoists were said to be killed and the body of a woman cadre was recovered from the site of encounter.
Mr. Shah tweeted, “I bow to the sacrifices of our brave security personnel martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Nation will never forget their valour. My condolences are with their families. We will continue our fight against these enemies of peace & progress. May injured recover soon.”
(With inputs from PTI)