War against Naxals: Times Now travels to deep inside Maoist territory - exclusive ground report
The latest statement by the Maoist group has admitted to the death of five of their men and women, but the government believes that the enemies' casualties could be much higher.
Times Now traveled to Naxal stronghold 'battalion one' located at Bijapur to find what transpired on Saturday which led to the martyrdom of 22 security personnel and the abduction of one COBRA constable. This is probably the biggest loss in recent times.
As reported by Times Now from ground zero, the latest statement by the Maoist group has admitted to the death of five of their men and women, but the government believes that the enemies' casualties could be much higher but the banned organisation has also displayed ammunition that they have stolen from security forces.
Apart from control and dominance over strategic areas, the fight is over control over the road which connects Dantevada and Sukma from Bijapur. In this conflict zone, road construction is not an easy task. Every inch of road construction sees a conflict between Maoists and security forces
The biggest challenge in road construction is to safely build up a camp for the security personnel so that the next stage of 5 km could be constructed as part of a dominance exercise.
The past three years has seen the government trying to build up the road from Tarrem police station till Silgur, which is the strongest area of Hidma who virtually controls the Dand Karan Special Zonal committee members ( DKFZC). To stop the construction work, DKFZC has used every trick possible.
Before starting deadly attacks on security forces, they had spread fake news of sexual assault of Trible women by security forces. This fake news helped them in winning support of tribals.
In 2016, Times Now had travelled to the Pedagulur village where we had met Hidma. Since then he is ready to have a one on one confrontation with the forces. After failing to achieve their target, a series of attacks were carried out, all under Hidma's supervision. He later forced the local civic bodies who resigned and staged a protest against the local administration. The government had then sent a delegation to have a dialogue, the issue was resolved after talks.
In the last three decades, gunfight has been continuing over control of Jagargunda-Jongaguda-Tarrem axis. Till now, 383 men have been martyred protecting this stretch of road since 1991.
Data of the Naxal Attack since 1991:
April 4th 1991
19 security personnel lost their life's after the bus carrying them exploded in the blast.
Location: Tarrem Village, Bijapur.
Two jeeps were attacked in which 19 men got martyred including a DySP.
March 15th, 2007
Location: RaniBodly Bijapur
55 men died after an attack at their camp in the night.
April 6th 2010
76 died in an Ambush.
April 17th 2010
A civilian bus carrying security was blown in a landmine blast. 36 died.
June 29th 2010
27 died after an attack on their security camp.
May 25th 2013
Congress statement President's election campaign team was attacked. 30 died.
April 12, 2014
Location: Kutru, Bijapur
Poling agent and six died.
Ambulance attacked, 5 died in the incidents.
Total deaths: 13
11 deaths reported in an attack by Naxals.
April 25th 2017
32 CRPF men died after an attack.
May 6th 2017
Location: Kasalpad, Sukma
14 death reported after the Naxal attack.
April 9, 2019
Location: kaunkoda, Dantewada
Bheema Madavi the Local MLA and three died.
March 21st 2020
Location : Minpa village, Sukma
25 security personnel died in an Ambush.
23 jawan were martyred, five Naxals also claimed to be dead in the attack.
To understand what happened on the bloody Saturday, Times Now travelled from Bijapur district headquarters to Silgar. Once you enter the deserted part, you see the pictures of security personnel's who have died in counter Naxal operation. In Silgar, construction work was stopped several months back.
On our way to Tarrem, we met a local journalist Raunak, who during the conversation told us the importance of the road and the long battle that he has witnessed between Naxals and security forces over decades. On the extreme outskirts of Bijapur is Aawapalli village which has a mini-market. People. particularly youth, have no employment opportunities except Manrega. They told us how they struggled in their childhood without motorable roads. Aawapalli village, one in the extreme outskirts of the Bijapur, has the last mini market.
Unlike youth in the other parts of the country, men don't have opportunities to work in private organisations, the only source of their employment is the government schemes like MANREGA. They told us their stories of struggle in their childhood to reach home without any motorable roads.
Tarrem probably is the last guarded area that has a police station.. the presence of central paramilitary forces and state police who live in barracks.
In an attempt to spread dominance in interior areas, efforts were on to construct two more camps but police teams later could only find malfunctioned solar panels in small shanties in villages
To trace the missing CRPF jawans, the Times Now crew drove 13 km on a hilly terrain. We interacted with locals who gave us some vague locations of Naxals which could not be trusted.
We reached Pedagulur village where tribal women were allegedly sexually assaulted in 2016. We lost our opportunity to go further. It started raining and we had no option but to go back to Bijapur.
Speaking to multiple sources, Times Now has construed what happened on 3rd April which saw a bloody encounter. There was specific information about Hidama, head of battalion 1 of the deadly Maoist group. The joint team launched an operation. Intercepts showed that Hidma and another commander Sujatha being present in a nearby village.
The encounter started at 11 am in Jeera village of Thekla Guda. After facing heavy gunfire, Maoists came down from the mountains and attacked security forces from all sites.
The Naxals formed a U shaped formation and continuously fired at security forces. Three hours later at 2 pm a request was received for immediate evacuation. By then 22 security personnel had martyred. Visuals of the encounter show a chopper of the Indian airforce lifting men from the encounter site.
Seven injured security personnel were shifted to the hospital. However, unfortunately, the bodies of more slain Jawan could not have been taken on that day. They were then taken back on the next day that is on 4th April.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the Naxals have released pictures of the ammunition stolen after the death of the jawans. The picture has 12 automatic rifles like AK 47 and sniper guns along with live cartridges and walkie talkies with cell phones