The Naxals, who killed 25 CRPF jawans in an ambush in Sukma district yesterday, had sent some villagers to the forest to distract the troops minutes before attacking them, said a CRPF constable injured in the fight. The Maoists last afternoon attacked the 100-member CRPF patrol, providing security to the road-building workers in Chintagufa area, killing 25 jawans and injuring seven.
CRPF jawan Sourabh Kumar Malik, undergoing treatment at Balaji Hospital here for bullet injuries, said around 100 jawans were out on a regular road security operation since last morning to facilitate the ongoing construction of the Chintagufa-Jagargunda road.
He recalled seeing some villagers in the area just before the attack. “One of them was wearing a black scarf around his face. When we stopped him, he replied he had come to attend the nature’s call,” Malik said, adding that villagers usually visit the forest in the region for picking up Mahua fruits and tendu leaves.
You may also like to watch:
“Therefore, we considered that their movement yesterday too was for the same purpose,” he said while narrating the sequence of events. “Within minutes after the villagers left, the CRPF team came under fire from three sides of the forest at around 12.40 PM. We immediately took positions and retaliated but by then some of our buddies were hit by bullets,” Malik said adding they started retrieving the injured personnel.
He recalled some villagers, who were present at the spot, started making noise to distract the jawans. “While replying to the firing by the Naxals who had surrounded us, I also sustained bullet injuries. The strength of the Naxals was around 300 while we were just 100 divided in two teams. The exchange of the fire lasted for around three-and-half hours,” Malik said.
He said in most of the Naxal attacks, it has been noticed that villagers were used as human shields by the insurgents during the gun battle. “We cannot do anything to the unarmed villagers as we have been asked that they should not be harmed at any cost,” said Malik who sustained bullet injuries on his left shoulder and legs in the encounter.
Malik said he and his colleagues are ready to take on the insurgents again.
“Given a chance, we will go and fight again. We are still ready to fight,” said the CRPF constable from his hospital bed. He demanded that the state police too should be involved in providing security to the road construction works along with the CRPF.
Another CRPF constable Manoj Kumar, who was also part of the patrolling party, said he was feeling disappointed because even after helping the villagers with medical aid several times, they supported the ultras and not the jawans. While speaking to the media at the Burkapal camp of the 74th battalion of CRPF today, Manoj said, “I have administered treatment to several injured villagers many a times, but they never supported us. They give us some information at times but that too later proves wrong. It is really disappointing that they supported the Naxals.”
He said besides triggering an IED blast and resorting to indiscriminate firing, the ultras also shot explosive-laden arrows at the security personnel during the ambush.