Nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed when suspected Naxals detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) to blow up their mine-protected vehicle (MPV) in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Tuesday, an official said.
Some jawans were also reported to be injured in the explosion, but there was no official confirmation yet, he said.
The blast occurred when a team of CRPF's 212th battalion was patrolling in a forest in Kistaram area of Sukma, located around 500 km from here, a paramilitary official told PTI.
"Nine paramilitary personnel, belonging to the 212th battalion, were killed in the blast," he said. The security men were conducting an area-domination operation in the forest of Kistaram when the Maoists blew up the CRPF's mine-protected vehicle, he said. The rebels used a lot of explosives to blow up the vehicle, the official said.
A patrolling party was going from Kistaram to Palodi in an anti-landmine vehicle which was targeted by Naxals with an IED. Extra force has reached the spot, there is no firing at present: DM Awasthi, Special DG, Anti Naxal Operations on IED blast in #Chhattisgarh's Sukma pic.twitter.com/sI3BbqJzAR— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2018
Soon after the incident, reinforcement was rushed to the spot, he said, adding that further details were awaited.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has directed Chhattisgarh director general of police to camp in Sukma and nab the Naxals behind the incident.
“My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG @crpfindia regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh,” Singh wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too condemned the Naxal attack and said, “India salutes the brave CRPF personnel who were martyred in the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the brave martyrs. The nation stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this hour of grief.”
But soon after PM Modi’s tweet Congress leader targeting the BJP-led NDa government to ANI said, “We salute the sacrifice of our jawans and extend condolences to their families, but under Modi ji's watch all we get are acronyms and empty speeches.”
He also questioned, “Till when will our jawans continue to lay down their lives?”