In a Naxal triggered IED blast at least 10 CRPF commandos belonging to the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) battalion were killed and five severely injured in Aurangabad, Bihar. The battle began on Monday with a series of blasts and ended in a 10 hour prolonged gun battle.
Officials said the COBRA commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force were ambushed by the Naxalites on Monday afternoon with IEDs or improvised explosive devices. The CRPF force retaliated and the battle continued till late at night, leaving three Naxalites also dead. “While eight personnel were killed on the spot, two others succumbed to their injuries when they were being evacuated,” a senior official said.
As the group of 25 security personnel made their way to the hilltop in a forested area near Dumri Nala along the Gaya-Aurangabad border where Maoists were holding a meeting, the rebels hiding in the hills triggered a series of blasts, killing 8 men. State police chief PK Thakur said. “The Maoists had laid several IEDs on a narrow passage, which the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) jawans were trying to negotiate on foot, the police chief told HT. They had specific information about the Maoists activity but perhaps, they were caught on the wrong foot due to the treacherous terrain.” “The police party had almost 100 troops. The first group got trapped in an area of land mines and there were serial blasts. The terrain is very difficult there and the extremists were on higher ground,” news agency Reuters quoted Thakur as saying.
After the Maoists opened fire first, the CRPF retaliated and killed three Maoists and injured half-a-dozen others. The Maoists, however, succeeded in taking away their injured associates to safe spots.
Maoists used 35 IEDs. Some arms and ammunition, including an AK-47 rifle, INSAS rifle and under-barrel grenade launcher were recovered from the site. Officials said five personnel were critically injured in the fierce gun battle that ensued after the IED blasts.
The jawans were from 205th COBRA battalion. This is one of the biggest causalities of the elite COBRA unit, a specialized force raised for jungle warfare operations.
The martyred CRPF men have been identified as Head Constables Anil Kumar Singh, a resident of Buxar in Bihar and K Opendra Singh of Thoubal, Manipur, Constables Sinod Kumar of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Ramesh Kumar from Hoshiarpur in Punjab, Diwakar Kumar from Khagariya in Bihar, Polash Mondal from South Denajpur in West Bengal, Deepak Ghosh of Nadia in West Bengal, Manoj Kumar of Betul in Madhya Pradesh, Harvender Panwar of Muzaffarnagar in UP and Ravi Kumar from Siwan in Bihar.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar about the incident on Tuesday morning. Jharkhand rushed in reinforcement after the Singh and Kumar spoke over the phone. “We have sought help from Jharkhand. The JAP has been asked to converge on the forest area from Palamu and Chatra side,” Patna zonal inspector general (central zone) NH Khan said.
Of the five injured CRPF personnel, Uday Bhan, Ravishankar Yadav and Panch Ram have been admitted to Ruban Memorial hospital in Patna. The doctors said they were “out of danger.”
Meanwhile, the CRPF and State Police have intensified their combing operations in the Aurangabad-Gaya forest areas to nab the naxals. “The operation will not end until we’ll smoke out the naxals who dared to execute such a big attack on the security personnel in Bihar”, an official engaged in the operation told The Hindu over phone.
The State government has announced compensation of Rs. five lakh to the family members of all those CRPF personnel martyred in the naxal attack. “Besides, the dependents of the martyred CRPF personnel will also get Rs. 20 lakh as their insurance money”, said Sunil Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (Headquarter).