Ten District Reserve Guards (DRGs), a special police force of the State, and their civilian driver died on Wednesday when a van in which they were travelling was blown apart in an improvised explosive devise (IED) explosion carried out by Maoists in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh.
The major strike against the security forces prompted Union Home Minister Amit Shah to speak to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel on the phone, assuring him of all possible assistance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Ministers among others condemned the attack. Modi said, “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”.
“10 DRG jawans and one civilian driver lost their lives in the attack... Bodies of all of them are being evacuated from the spot. Senior officers are present there. A search operation is underway,” IG Bastar, P Sundarraj, told reporters there.
CM Baghel also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and stated “the fight is in its last stage” and that “Naxal won’t be spared”.
The policemen, after carrying out an anti-Maoist operation launched based on intelligence inputs, were returning when their van was targeted by an IED around 2 pm in Dantewada, police officials said.
The intensity of the blast was so severe that it created an almost ten feet deep crater on the road the police vehicle was plying, visuals from the spot showed.
The DRG, comprising mostly of local tribal boys, had earlier carried out several successful operations against the Naxals in the Bastar area but still has an influence of left-wing extremism. The MHA along with the assistance of States has been able to restrict LWE in six States — Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Maharastra, and Odisha.
The incidents of LWE violence have reduced by 77 per cent from an all-time high of 2,258 in 2009 to 509 in 2021, the MHA statistics shared in parliament last July revealed. Similarly, the resultant deaths of civilians and security forces have reduced by 85 per cent from an all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021.
The geographical spread of the violence has also reduced as only 46 districts reported LWE-related violence in 2021 as compared to 96 districts in 2010, the Ministry stated.