The Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh today that killed 10 policemen and a driver involved the use of a powerful 50-kg improvised explosive device (IED) that left a massive hole on the road and uprooted trees.
The policemen of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) were travelling in a rented mini-van, sources said, adding the commuter vehicle that offers no ballistic protection may have been flung at least 20 feet by the force of the explosion. Sources said the debris of the destroyed van fell 150 metres from the blast site.
Visuals of the ambush site in Dantewada district show a big crater – 10 feet deep and 20 feet wide – that covers the road’s entire width, indicating the Maoists used a huge quantity of explosives to trigger the ambush.
The Maoists may have used 10 times the quantity of explosives to target the van in which the policemen were travelling, Major General Ashwini Siwach, the former chief of the Territorial Army, told NDTV today.
The DRG team was returning after conducting an anti-Maoist operation when the attack happened.
The special security forces tasked with combating Maoists are looking for the attackers, who have disappeared in the jungle, sources said, adding the area is a tri-junction of three states.
The Maoist attack appears to be a desperate attempt to assert control in the area as they are already in a retreat due to intense and consistent operations by the security forces, which have achieved a string of successes against the Maoists in recent times.
Over 400 Maoists have been surrendering every year following the government’s rehabilitation policy, Sundarraj P, Inspector General of Police of Bastar range, told news agency ANI.
He said most of the Maoist leaders left now are usually from states outside Chhattisgarh such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the “sacrifice” of the policemen “will always be remembered”.
“Strongly condemn the attack on the Chhattisgarh police in Dantewada. I pay my tributes to the brave personnel we lost in the attack. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. My condolences to the bereaved families,” PM Modi tweeted.
Strongly condemn the attack on the Chhattisgarh police in Dantewada. I pay my tributes to the brave personnel we lost in the attack. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. My condolences to the bereaved families.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 26, 2023
Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and offered his condolences to the families of the 10 policemen and the driver.
“Anguished by the cowardly attack on the Chhattisgarh police at Dantewada. Have spoken to Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister and assured all possible assistance to the state government. My condolences to the bereaved family members of the martyred jawans,” Mr Shah tweeted.
Anguished by the cowardly attack on the Chhattisgarh police at Dantewada. Have spoken to Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister and assured all possible assistance to the state government. My condolences to the bereaved family members of the martyred Jawans.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 26, 2023
Today’s attack came a week after Maoists fired at the convoy of a Congress MLA in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur while he was returning from a public meeting. No one was injured in the attack.
The Congress MLA, Vikram Mandavi, was travelling with panchayat member Parvati Kashyap when the Maoists shot at their convoy.
The last major attack by Maoists took place in April 2021 when 22 security personnel were killed in action in the jungles between Bijapur and Sukma districts.