In the worst Maoist assault on safety forces in current instances, 22 personnel from numerous forces have been killed in an ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur. India Today TV travelled to the encounter spot after a 500-kilometre arduous journey into the Silger forest, which grew to become a dying lure for the troopers.
The final 30 kilometres proved the hardest as we navigated by jungles stuffed with thick foliage from a trekking path to no path. Riding bikes from Basaguda to the Jeeram village, which grew to become a witness to the deadly massacre last week.
A scanty inhabitants was seen as soon as in some time, however the language remained a barrier as we travelled deeper into the realm. At one level, visibility was minimal in the thick jungle cowl, making us assume we could have arrived at the spot. On arrival, we noticed villagers sitting outdoors their mud homes.
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A person in his 60s advised us, “We were not here when the firing began. We were all tilling in our fields.” But different locals admitted that the villagers had been requested to vacate the realm hours earlier than the encounter.
Maoists boxed in the forces at the forest area close to this village in Bijapur. As firing began from the higher reaches of the village at the troops from all three sides, the troopers rushed to this village to take cowl, however the Maoists have been hiding right here.
The soil was soaked in blood, say the locals. A complete of 22 jawans were killed in the attack whereas 31 others have been injured.
The rains have now washed away any telltale indicators of the bloodbath. The troopers have been ambushed with firing from the homes and timber. The village which is reduce off from the primary cities makes it a simple stronghold of the Maoists.
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They had lured the troopers with the identify of Hidma, the PLGA notorious commander of Battalion no 1. Talking concerning the assault, a prime officer mentioned, “I told some of the officials that they may be noting the pattern and will soon attack. He said it is like that line — “sher aya sher aya”, and ultimately it came.”
We discovered tractors alongside the way in which that the Maoists could have used to ferry their very own lifeless. Although they launched an ambush, the response from forces was swift. And therefore, they’d to make use of tractors like these to ferry their very own. While leaving, they stole bulletproof vests and arms and ammunition from the slain troopers.
On April 3, after the massacre, they took a CRPF soldier hostage.
Reports say the kidnapping of the CRPF soldier Rakeshwar Singh Manhas occurred after his bullets acquired exhausted. Now the rebels are utilizing him to barter with the federal government.
We additionally spoke to native journalist Ganesh Mishra, who obtained a name from the Maoists in reference to lacking soldier.
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Ganesh Mishra, a journalist from Bijapur, says the scenario is getting from dangerous to worse. “I want to help release the soldier. I am willing to negotiate with the Maoists, but I do not wish to be a government-appointed negotiator,” he mentioned. At the village of Jeeram, we met Soni Sori, who mentioned the village head Sukha has been picked up by police after an encounter.
A human rights activist, she says I’m hopeful the soldier might be launched. “Even Maoists are humans first. I appeal to them to release him, but the onus remains on the government to ensure that they have a negotiator fixed. Why is the government silent on this,” she requested.
As we headed again, we noticed troopers patrolling. An officer mentioned, “The massacre is tragic. But the forces are braving bullets. We cannot have information and sit on it.”
An injured soldier Dev Prakash, who’s an STF constable, mentioned, “The first spray of bullets does scare you a bit. But once you start firing back, one is back in control. The soldiers now want free hand from the government to deal with the Maoists to ensure they neutralise the enemy.”