A day after Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, commando from the Central Reserve Police Force’s CoBRA unit was released by Maoists who had kidnapped him during the April 3rd attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, an ASHA trainer and two Anganwadi workers were abducted in the latest among a series of attacks perpetrated by the Naxals.
The incident follows one of the bloodiest Maoist attacks earlier this month which left 22 members of the Indian force dead – the heaviest toll inflicted by the Maoist outfit since 2017. As per reports, the attack was masterminded by Madvi Hidma, the shadowy commander of the Maoists Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army Battalion 1.
This is also the second Naxal attack in less than a month in the area. Sukma, in Chhattisgarh, a part of the Naxal hotbed, has seen a number of Maoist attacks in the past.
The last decade has seen numerous Left-Wing Extremis attacks which have injured and killed many security personnel, civilians and Maoists as well. As per data from the Union Government, there were at least 2,168 incidents of LWE violence between 2018 and 2020 in the country, alone. Around 162 security personnel and 463 civilians have been killed in LWE violence, along with 473 Naxal deaths. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have been the two most affected states in the country.
We take a look at some of the deadliest Maoist attacks over the last decade:
2010 Maoist attacks:
The year 2010 was one of the worst in terms of the number of LWE incidents and lives lost.
On February 15, 2010, Maoists attacked and killed 24 personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) in Silda, West Midnapore district of West Bengal, in one of the deadliest Maoist massacres in the state.
On April 6, 2010, Maoists killed 76 security personnel, which included 74 members of the CRPF and two policemen, in the Mukrana forest of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada region. This was also one of the biggest losses of life for security forces since launching the large-scale offensive against the rebel outfit. In the ambush, eight Maoists were also killed.
The attack took place during a joint operation between 80 officers of the CRPF and the local police in an area domination exercise in the Bastar region of Chhatisgarh. As per reports, Maoists attacked the CRPF convoy, opening indiscriminate firing and triggering IED blasts.
On May 8, 2010, Naxals blew up a bullet-proof vehicle in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, killing eight CRPF jawans.
On May 17, 2010, a bus hit a landmine around 50 kms away from Dantewada. The explosion killed between 31 to 44 people, including Special Police Officers (SPOs) and civilians.
On June 29, 2010, Naxals ambushed and killed atleast 26 CRPF personnel in the Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh.
2013 Naxal attack in Darbha Valley: On May 25, 2013, days before the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, Maoists ambushed and attacked a convoy carrying several Chattisgarh Congress leaders, including state secretary Nand Kumar Patel, former Union minister VC Shukla and former state minister Mahendra Karma.
Atleast 17 people were killed in the ambush, wiping out nearly the entire Congress leadership in the state. The attack was conducted in retaliation to an offensive that the UPA government in power had launched against Naxals. At least 10 security personnel officers, all personal security officers of the leaders, were also killed during the ambush.
2014, Sukma: On March 11, 2014, a joint team of CRPF personnel and police consisting of around 50 personnel in total, had been moving from Tongpal Village to Jeeram Ghati when around 100 Maoists opened fire at them.
The Maoists ambushed and killed 15 CRPF personnel, including two officers, in the same area where the 2010 attacks, which killed 76 people, took place.
2017, Sukma: In another deadly attack in the Sukma region, hundreds of Maoists surrounded and killed at least 26 CRPF personnel on April 24, 2017. The 99-member CRPF had been patrolling the region to provide security for a road construction project when Maoists ambushed and opened fire at them.
With a total of 49 deaths occurring due to Maoist attacks, April 2017 also became the deadliest month for security forces in Chhattisgarh in seven years.
2018, Sukma: At least nine CRPF personnel were killed and six others injured as Maoists blew up a patrolling vehicle using an IED. The team was travelling in an anti-landmine vehicle when the attack, which came almost 11 days after security personnel killed 10 alleged Naxals, in Chattisgarh’s Bijapur region, took place.
2019, Gadichiroli: 15 security personnel and a civilian were killed in an IED explosion on May 1, 2019, hours after Maoists set fire to around 30 vehicles in the Gdichiroli district of Maharashtra. The construction vehicles that were torched, were part of a trap laid by the Maoists to bring the police on the road.
2020, Sukma: On March 21, 2020, Maoists ambushed and killed 17 security personnel, including 12 from the District Reserve Guard (DRG) in the Minpa area of Sukma district. The incident happened during a major joint offensive of around 600 personnel, with separate teams belonging to the DRG Special Task Force (STF) and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA)- an elite unit of CRPF, against People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) — the military wing of CPI (Maoist).
Narayanpur attack, 2021: On March 23, this year, Naxals blew up a bus containing personnel of the DRG who were returning in the bus to Narayanpur town, in Chattisgarh, after a counter-insurgency operation. The incident killed five police personnel and injured 13 others.
The US State Department’s ‘Country Report on Terrorism 2018’ had termed the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit as the “sixth deadliest terror groups in the world," placing the group after terror outfits such as the Taliban, ISIS, Al- Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Communist Party of Philippines.