2021 Sukma–Bijapur attack

Sukma-Bijapur attack
Part of the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency
Date3 April 2021
Communist Party of India (Maoist)  India
Units involved
Central Reserve Police Force
Commando Battalion for Resolute Action
District Reserve Guard
Special Task Force
250 Unknown
Casualties and losses
12-20 killed[1] 22 killed
32 injured[2]

The 2021 Sukma-Bijapur attack was an ambush carried out by the Naxalite-Maoist insurgents from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) against Indian security forces on 3 April 2021 at Sukma-Bijapur border near Jonaguda village which falls under Jagargunda police station area in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, leading to the killing of 22 security personnel[3] and 9 Naxalites.[4][5] The death toll was the worst for Indian security forces fighting the Naxalites since 2017.[6]

On 2 April 2021, separate joint teams of security forces launched a major anti-Maoist operation from Bijapur and Sukma district in the South Bastar forests.[7]

Background edit

On 23 March 2021, five District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel were killed and 13 others injured when Maoists blew up a bus carrying the security personnel with an Improvised explosive device in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh.[8] The Maoists' group was aided by insurgents associated with the Maoist platoons of Pamed, Konta, Jagargunda, and Basaguda area committees with them nearly 250 in strength.[9]

Security forces had launched an operation after the presence of wanted Maoist leader Hidma in the area. Hidma, a tribal from Puvarti village of Sukma district, who heads the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army’s (PLGA) battalion number 1, is known for deadly ambushes.[9][10] He joined hands with the rebels in the 1990s and leads around 180 to 250 Maoist fighters, including women. He is a member of the Maoists Dandakaranya Special Zonal committee (DKSZ) and he's also the youngest member of the CPI (Maoists) supreme 21-membered ‘central committee.’ He carries a reward of 45 lakh (US$56,000). A charge sheet has been filed against Hidma in the 2019 BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi murder case by the NIA. Hidma is accused in at least 26 attacks, including the 2013 Jhiram Ghati massacre of frontline Congress leaders and Burkapal ambush of April 2017 in which 24 CRPF personnel were killed.[9]

Attack edit

On 3 April 2021, the security personnel belonging to the Central Reserve Police Force’s elite CoBRA unit, the District Reserve Guard, and the Special Task Force were ambushed in the tribal-dominated central Indian state of Chhattisgarh during an anti-insurgency operation.[6] The fighting ensued when Indian security forces, acting on military intelligence, raided a rebel hideout in a densely forested area of Bijapur district.[11]

At least 22 Indian security personnel were killed and 30 injured in the ambush by Maoist rebels that lasted for four hours in the border Sukma district, 540km (340 miles) south of state-capital Raipur.[6] The insurgents, who had also suffered casualties, had managed to seize the dead soldiers’ weapons.[12] Later, a combing operation to locate one missing soldier was conducted.[6] According to Bhupesh Baghel, chief minister of Chhattisgarh, the gun battle in the state's Bastar division saw the use of "bullets, grenades and rocket launchers" from both sides.[13]

Uddipan Mukherjee, a joint director for the government owned Ordnance Factory Board, said the pandemic had allowed the rebels to recruit more members.[14] Mukherjee has been tracking war strategy of the Maoists for over a decade.[15] His thesis was agreed upon by others who had access to direct knowledge of the situation.[16]

Reactions edit

Domestic edit

Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India expressed deep anguish over the martyrdom of security personnel. Prime minister Narendra Modi and CM of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel condemned the incident.[2] The Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, "Befitting reply to Chattisgarh Naxal attack will be given at appropriate time."[17]

International edit

Foreign Ministry of Turkey condemns the attack and "sends consolidates to those soldiers who were martyred in 'heinous' attack by terrorists".[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Drone shows tractor trolleys used to carry up to 20 dead Maoists: Officials". Hindustan Times. 5 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Chhattisgarh Maoist attack: 22 jawans killed, 32 injured & 1 missing". The Times of India. April 4, 2021.
  3. ^ Mallick, Avdhesh (April 4, 2021). "Chhattisgarh: 22 jawans killed in Bijapur Naxal attack". The Free Press Journal.
  4. ^ "Naxal Encounter: Backup team arrived with dead bodies of 17 martyred soldiers". Zee News. April 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Drolia, Rashmi (April 6, 2021). "Chhattisgarh Maoist ambush: Viral audioclips recount valour of troops, wait for help". The Times of India. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  6. ^ a b c d "Indian security personnel killed after ambush by Maoists". Al Jazeera. 4 Apr 2021.
  7. ^ "Chhattisgarh: 17 More Bodies Found, Toll of Jawans Killed in Gun Battle With Maoists up to 22". The Times of India. April 4, 2021.
  8. ^ "Five policemen killed, 13 injured in Naxal attack on bus in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur". Firstpost. March 24, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "Chhattisgarh encounter: Who is Maoist leader Hidma, man behind the ambush of 22 soldiers?".
  10. ^ "Maoist threat: Operation aimed at Hidma, but he is a 'bundle of photographs'". The Times of India.
  11. ^ "India recovers bodies of 20 more troops after Maoist clashes". Washington Post. April 4, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Maoist Insurgents Kill 23 Indian Forces in Ambush, Officials Say". The New York Times. April 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "At least 22 Indian security personnel killed in clash with Maoist insurgents". CNN. April 6, 2021.
  14. ^ "India grapples with rising Maoist violence, fuelled by pandemic". Hindustan Times. April 5, 2021.
  15. ^ "Uddipan Mukherjee, PhD, is Joint Director, Government of India, Ministry of Defence at Ordnance Factory Board". MPIDSA. December 28, 2010.
  16. ^ "India steps up anti-Maoist operations after 22 policemen killed". ALJAZEERA. April 6, 2021.
  17. ^ "Befitting reply to Chattisgarh Naxal attack will be given at appropriate time: Union Home Minister Amit Shah". New Indian Express. April 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Turkey condemns Sukma-Bijapur Naxal attack". india.com.