At least 23 security personnel were martyred and over 30 others sustained injuries in the encounter with the naxals in the forests of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur on Saturday.
This was the deadliest naxal attack in the last four years.
The martyred included eight from the District Reserve Guard (DRG), seven from the CRPF’s CoBRA, six from the Special Task Force and one from the ‘Bastariya’ battalion of the CRPF.
Most of the jawans died of bullet injuries while one is suspected to have fainted and later died due to dehydration.
The operation was launched based on the intelligence inputs about the presence of Maoists of PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) Battalion No. 1 led by Hidma, a Naxal commander involved in many deadly attacks on security forces.
“At least 400 Naxals suspected to be led by most wanted Maoist commander Hidma and his associate Sujatha ambushed the forces in an area that is a stronghold of the Maoists due to the difficult terrain, large tracts of forests and a smaller number of camps of security forces,” an officer said.
The intelligence report of wanted Maoist leader Hidma’s presence now appears to have been a trap in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.
The Naxals took security forces by surprise resulting in a pitched gun battle that continued for over three hours.
Hidma, who is suspected to be around 40 years old, is a tribal from Puvarti village of Sukma district. He joined hands with the rebels in the 90s.
He heads the People’s Liberation Guerrilla army’s (PLGa) battalion number 1 and known for his fierce and deadly ambushes.
He leads around 180 to 250 Maoist fighters, including women.
He is a member of the Maoists Dandakaranya Special Zonal committee (DKSZ).
He carries a reward of Rs 40 lakh.
A charge sheet has also been filed against Hidma in the Bheem Mandavi Murder case by the NIA.
The worst Naxal attack till date is the 2010 strike on security forces, where 76 CRPF and state police personnel were killed at the Chintalnar area of Dantewada.