The nation was outraged with the martyrdom of 22 security forces personnel with over 30 injured in the dastardly attack of the Maoists in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday. The Maoists ambushed the security forces leading to a 4-hour-long gun battle in which severe damage was inflicted to the Maoists as well, killing at least 12 Maoists.
The Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict between the Maoists and the Government of the country. Maoists are far-left radical communists supporting the ideology of Maoism. Their origination dates back to 1967 when the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was split leading to the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), however, the modern insurgency has begun in the 2000s. The Maoist insurgency was spread across the entire country, which is now mostly confined to the states of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Although the insurgency is now confined to four states, little traces and elements of the Maoists are still seen in other states as well.
Some of the deadliest Maoist attacks in the past:
Silda camp attack
In February 2010, Maoist rebels involving gunmen on motorcycles and pickup trucks killed 24 security personnel in broad daylight during an ambush against a paramilitary camp in Silda, West Bengal. More than 100 Maoists had attacked a military camp to target personnel of special paramilitary force, according to a New York Times report quoting a sub-inspector in the area where the attack had occurred. The leader of the CPI (Maoist) had claimed responsibility for the attack and had also threatened to repeat
such attacks in the future. Koteswar Rao a.k.a Kishenji had claimed responsibility for the attack. He had called it a “peace hunt” while stating that it was a reply to the anti-Maoist operation of the Union government.
Dantewada Maoist attack
Soon after the February 2010 attack in Silda, another attack deadlier than the previous one took place in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada in April 2010. This attack of the Maoists claimed the lives of 76 personnel of security forces. 74 CRPF men and two policemen were martyred in the heinous attack while 50 others were said to be seriously wounded, according to a PTI report. The martyred included a Deputy and an Assistant Commandant of the CRPF. The CRPF convoy was ambushed by 1000 Maoists at 6 am on April 6, 2010, when they were taking a break after travelling all night from a three-day anti-Maoist operation. The Dantewada attack remains the worst ever attack in the history of Maoist insurgency, inflicting a severe casualty to the Indian forces.
Odisha’s Koraput district attacks
Two days before the Dantewada attack, Maoists had triggered a landmine blast in Orissa’s Koraput district, killing 11 security personnel of the elite anti-Maoist Special Operations Group. Around the same time a year back in 2009, 11 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Jawans were killed and 15 others were badly injured in a gunfight with the Maoist Ultras who attacked NALCO’s bauxite mine in Koraput district. The CISF personnel and the Special Operations Group (SOG) were sent to the site after more than 200 Maoists stormed Panchpatmali mine at Damonjodi in Koraput when the ensued gun battle led to the killing of four Maoists and martyrdom of 11 CIFS personnel.
On May 17 of 2010, Maoists blew up a bus on Dantewada-Sukma road in Chhattisgarh, killing at least 36 people. Of the dead, 24 were civilians and 12 special police officers, according to a Hindustan Times report. It was said to be the first Maoist attack targeting a civilian bus. One month after Dantewada witnessed the worst-ever massacre of CRPF jawans, the next month, on June 29, at least 26 personnel of the CRPF were killed in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh.
Attack on Congress leaders in 2013
In May 2013, Maoist insurgents attacked a convoy of Congress leaders in the Jhiram Ghati, Darbha Valley in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh killing at least 25 political leaders. Among the dead was former state minister Mahendra Karma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel. Another Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla suffered fatal injuries due to the attack and succumbed on June 11 2013.
Sukma attack (2017)
On April 25, 2017, hundreds of Maoists ambushed and massacred at least 25 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district and escaped with their AK-47 assault rifles. The 99-member CRPF battalion was on patrol to provide security to a road construction project when the attack took place. The Maoists used sophisticated weaponry including AK series rifles which they had plundered from previous attacks on Indian security forces.
There have been several other attacks over the span of a decade, but with lesser casualties. Also, the Indian Security Forces have also carried out anti-Maoist operations from time to time inflicting severe blows to the Maoist activities and reducing their foothold across the country. There have also been instances when a number of insurgents have given up arms and have joined the mainstream to lead better lives. Nonetheless, the threat of the Maoist insurgency still remains as the Indian Forces combat the insurgents.