PM Modi salutes martyrs, assures befitting reply to killer Maoists

Raipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the deadly ambush on the 74th Battalion in a forested area in Kala Pathar (near Chintagufa) in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district as "cowardly and deplorable" and said the deaths of the troopers won't go in vain. Twenty six CRPF jawans were martyred in the attack.

PM Modi saluted the CRPF. "We are proud of the valour of our CRPF personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain," he tweeted. "Condolences to their families. May those injured in (the) attack recover at the earliest."

The Prime Minister said the government was monitoring the situation in Chhattisgarh closely.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government has taken as a "challenge" the killing of CRPF personnel by Naxals in Sukma in Chhattisgarh.

"We have taken the attack as a challenge," he told reporters here.

Singh described the incident as "sad and unfortunate".

"It is a very sad and unfortunate incident. I will talk to Chief Minister Raman Singh for more details," he said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi also condemned the killings of the CRPF personnel.

"The sacrifice of 24 brave men is a big loss to the nation. Such attacks will never deter our fight against extremism," Sonia Gandhi tweeted.

The killings forced Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to cut short his trip to Delhi where he had gone to attend a NITI Aayog meeting and fly back to Raipur.

Maoists aligned to the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist have been active in Chhattisgarh's tribal-dominated interiors for decades, running a virtual parallel state.