22 Indian soldiers killed, several wounded and missing in latest Maoist rebel attack

At least 22 Indian soldiers have been killed in the latest attack on Indian forces by Maoist rebels in Indian state of Chhattisgarh on March 4th Sunday a day earlier.

The incident comes as around 2,000 Indian security forces personnel were conducting a massive operation against Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

Security forces were targeted by Maoist ambush with the firefight lasting nearly three hours. The gun battle left at least 30 security forces personnel injured with scores of them still missing.

Furthermore, the insurgents also looted weapons, ammunition, uniforms and other accessories from the killed security personnel.

Chhattisgarh police’s Additional Director General Ashok Juneja has confirmed that 22 Indian soldiers have died in the Maoist attack.

It is to be noted that five security personnel were killed when a bus carrying over 20 security personnel was targeted by Naxals using an IED in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh on March 23rd 2021 this year.

This is the deadliest Maoist attack on Indians security forces since 2017 when 25 CRPF soldiers were killed in in Sukma, Chhattisgarh on April 14th.

Maoist Insurgency In India

The Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict between Maoist groups known as Naxalites or Naxals, and the Indian government. The insurgency started after the 2004 formation of the CPI-Maoists – a rebel group consisting of the PWG (People’s War Group) and the MCC (Maoist Communist Centre).

The rebels aim to capture the state power through people’s war with military strategy that is loosely based on the Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.

Also known as Naxalite insurgency, the insurgents operate in 60 districts in India, mainly in the states of Odisha (5 affected districts), Jharkhand (14 affected districts), Bihar (5 affected districts), Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh (ten affected districts), Madhya Pradesh (8 affected districts), Maharashtra (2 affected districts) and West Bengal (8 affected district). In West Bengal areas west of Howrah are affected by the insurgency.

In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites the “single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country.”

Notable Incidents Over The Years

2002 – An estimated 140 people were killed in fighting between the PWG and government forces
throughout the year. According to government reports, 482 people have died during the conflict
in 2002.

2004 – More than 500 people were killed in sporadic, low-intensity fighting, a reduction from previous
years. Most victims were members of the police forces or the Telugu Desam Party (a regional
political party).

2005 – Fighting was reported in 12 states covering most of south, central and north India with the
exception of India’s northeast and northwest. More than 700 people were reported killed this
year in violent clashes. Over one-third of those killed were civilians.

2006 – Around 500 to 750 people were estimated killed, fewer than half Naxalites, and approximately
one-third civilians.

2007 – 650 deaths with 240 civilians, 218 security personnel and 192 militants.

2008 – Death toll of around 794 people with 399 civilians, 221 security force personnel and 174 insurgents.

2009 – At least 56 Maoist attacks were reported with a death toll of 998 of which 392 were civilians, 312
security forces and 294 rebels.

2010 – More than 1,000 deaths including 277 security personnel, 277 Naxalites, and more than 600
civilians.

2011 – 447 civilian casualties along with 142 security forces personnel killed in Maoist attacks.

2012 – 15 Indian policemen killed in an explosion.

2013 – 24 Indian National Congress (INC) members killed in Maoist attack including the former state
minister Mahendra Karma and the Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel.

2014 – At least 32 security personnel including police commandoes and CRPF soldiers killed

2017 – 20 CRPS soldiers killed in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.

2018 – 9 CRPS personnel,  Araku MLA Kideri Sarveswara rao and ex-MLA Siveri Soma along with 34 rebels
killed.

2019 – 16 policemen, including a driver, killed in an IED blast carried out by Naxalite’s in Gadchiroli,
Maharashtra.

2020 – 17 CRPF personnel, 3 cobra commandoes killed along with 23 Maoist rebels.