Sukma attack: Considerable number of Maoists killed in retaliatory action, claims CRPF

NEW DELHI: A considerable number of Maoists are believed to have been killed in retaliatory action by CRPF men after an attack on them in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, the force claimed on Monday though no body has been recovered yet.

The paramilitary force in a statement said about 300 to 400 Naxalites "ambushed" its patrol party killing 25 personnel and injuring six others in Sukma district.

It said two companies of the 74th battalion were out on operation to provide security to people engaged in constructing a road to connect Burkapal to Chintagufa in the area.

There were 99 personnel out on the operation. A CRPF company has a strength of about 100 personnel.

It said the ensuing gun battle was "fierce". The CRPF troops replied in a befitting manner but taking advantage of their geographical position, Maoists succeeded in inflicting loss on the force.

"Twenty-four brave soldiers were martyred and one succumbed to his injuries while being evacuated to a hospital in Raipur," the statement read.

The party was ambushed by a group of about "300-400 Maoist cadres at 12.30pm at Kalapattar near Burkapal.

"A considerable number of Maoists are believed to have been eliminated (in retaliatory action by CRPF men) as the tell-tale sign indicate from the ground," it added.

The bodies of all jawans, it said, have been airlifted to Raipur, while the six injured have been admitted to a hospital in the state capital.

CRPF Director General (acting) Sudeep Lakhtakia and senior officials of the operations directorate of the force are expected to visit the site on Tuesday to "take stock of the situation."

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his junior colleague in the ministry Hansraj G Ahir are also expected to travel to Raipur tomorrow and pay tributes to the dead and hold a meeting with the top security brass of the state and paramilitary forces deployed there.