April 22, 2015 2:49:19 am
Making a peculiar claim about the April 11 Sukma ambush, Chhattisgarh Police on Tuesday produced before the media a “surrendered Jan Militia member” who said that as many as 35 Maoists were killed in the incident.
Jan Militia members are villagers who provide occasional logistical support to the Maoists, act as sentries and informers.
The surrendered Jan Militia member, Rama Sodi, a resident of Karigundam in Sukma, told the media he participated in the ambush and saw senior Maoist leaders falling to police’s bullets. In the presence of ADG (Naxal Ops) R K Vij and IG Dipanshu Kabra, Sodi claimed that 35 Maoists were killed and 15 injured in the police firing.
Seven personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) were killed in a Maoist ambush when STF’s platoon commander Shankar Rao led a small team of 49 personnel and left on an operation around 2.30 am. Significantly, the STF had lost Rao and a few others in the initial minutes of the ambush.
In the entire history of Maoist conflict in Chhattisgarh, the state police have never killed even 10 Maoists in an ambush. Earlier, the police had claimed that at least 20 Maoists were killed in the attack.
Subsequently, the Maoists had denied that any of their cadre was killed and termed it police propaganda.
On Tuesday, Sodi claimed that CPI (Maoist)’s Konta Area Committee secretary Arjun and South Bastar Battalion’s deputy commander Situ were among those killed.
Sodi was a farmer and lived in Karigundam village of Sukma. He claimed to have been working for the Maoists since 2007.
Sodi said he surrendered because he “could not withstand so many dead bodies”. He left his family in the interior village and reached Polampalli police station on April 16, five days after the attack. He also claimed that a senior Maoist Nagesh, who was part of the ambush squad, assembled locals and said: “This is the first instance that we have suffered such a big loss. We will not disclose this to people and the government.” Significantly, the STF had not recovered even one body of the Maoists and had left the battle leaving the bodies of the deceased personnel, which were retrieved 30 hours later.
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