Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Arundhati Roy's "Comrades" Massacre 76 in Red Corridor

According to an article in today's India Express:
Virtually an entire company of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) was wiped out when 75 of its personnel including Deputy Commandant Satyawan Singh Yadav and Assistant Commandant B L Meena along with the head constable of the Chattisgarh police were killed.
The attack was the deadliest yet to be carried out by the Maoist terrorists that operate throughout a large swath of India known as the Red Corridor. These terrorists, also known as "Naxalites", openly proclaim their admiration for Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao, and refuse to engage in any kind of peaceful political action. They prefer, instead, to "annihiliate" anyone who they see as an enemy, whether these are members of the police or rival leftists.

The article currently on the front page of The Hindu has a fairly detailed account of what happened:
The attack took place in the Mukrana forest, about 540 km southeast of the State capital Raipur. Seven injured personnel were evacuated by helicopter to the Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur.

“A joint operation involving one company of the CRPF's 62nd Battalion and troops from the Chhattisgarh police were ambushed,” confirmed Inspector-General R.K. Vij. “The force was returning to base camp after a three-day area domination exercise.” Apart from the 73 foot soldiers and policemen, Deputy Commandant of the 62nd Battalion Satyavan, Assistant Commandant B.L. Meena and head constable R. Siyaram Dhruv of the Chhattisgarh Police were killed.

The following account has been pieced together from press statements issued by the Chhattisgarh police and interviews with sources in the security forces and intelligence sources in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi. A comprehensive account will be possible only after interviews with the survivors.

The ambush occurred at about 5.30 a.m. when one company of the 62nd Battalion, and between 30 and 40 men from the Chhattisgarh police, were returning from the area domination exercise. While the troops were going on foot, the APC was proceeding along a dirt track.

Four kilometres short of the CRPF camp at Chintalnar, a massive Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated under the armoured vehicle, killing the lone driver, even as the troops came under heavy suppressive fire from a raised hillock bordering the path.

Troops rushed to take cover behind trees, only to find that the Maoists had booby-trapped the trees with anti-personnel IEDs. Soldiers who stayed in the open were gunned down by Maoists who used automatic weapons. In all, 75 members of the security forces were killed and seven injured. All their weapons were taken away by the Maoists.

In the second phase of the incident, reinforcements were rushed from the CRPF camp at Chintalnar, Dornapal and Chintagufa to rescue the survivors. According to a press note circulated by the Superintendent of Police, a vehicle brought to ferry the injured and the dead was also blown up with an IED, killing the driver and pushing the toll up to 76.