New Delhi/Raipur: In the worst Maoist attack since April 2010, some 26 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel died in a well-planned massacre carried out by nearly 300 Maoists Monday afternoon in Chhattisgarh's Sukma distric, media reports said.
The Maoists attacked when the CRPF men were carrying out a sanitization exercise for an under-construction road in the area.
Sukma is part of south Bastar, which for decades has suffered the Maoist menace. Since April 2010, nearly 200 security personnel have died in six major attacks in Chhattisgarh, according to NDTV.
The encounter took place at around 12.25 PM between the Burkapal-Chintagufa area of the worst Maoist violence-affected district in south Bastar area of the state, according to PTI.
"The Naxals fired at a patrolling party of the CRPF near Burkapal village leaving six personnel injured," Special Director General (anti-Naxal operations) of Chhattisgarh Police, D M Awasthi told PTI.
"They were around 300 and we were 150. We kept firing. I shot 3-4 Naxals in the chest", CRPF constable Sher Mohammed injured in the Sukma attack said, according to ANI.
Soon after the deadly attack, President Pranab Mukherji and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned it and sent their condolences to the families of deceased.
"Attack on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly and deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely...We are proud of the valour of our CRPF personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain... Condolences to their families", the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets.
In his comments made after the attack, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Its a very unfortunate incident. We have taken it as a challenge."
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also condemned the Naxal attack on the CRPF men and expressed greif over loss of life.
"Sincere condolences to families of CRPF personnel martyred in the attack in Sukma. We salute sacrifice and courage of our bravehearts", Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the deadly incident.