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APC killed, trooper injured as Naxals ambush at patrol party

Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh): An Assistant Platoon Commandant (APC) of Special Task Force (STF) was killed while another trooper suffered minor injuries in a fierce exchange of fire between the security forces and the Maoists in the dense forest near Banjarin temple under Darbha police station limits of the naxal-infested Bastar district on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. 

According to police, a contingent of 8th and 9th Battalions of Special Task Force was out for searching on National Highway 30 in the infamous Darbha Valley of the district. At around 2 am, a group of armed Naxals, ambushed the contingent near Jhiram Ghati, the place where the Naxals had wiped out the Congress leadership in Chhattisgarh in May 2013. Thirty one people were killed in that incident.

Confirming about the ambush, Inspector General of Police (SIB) Deepanshu Kabra said, “An Assistant Platoon Commandant (APC), Krishna Pal Singh succumbed to bullet injuries while a constable Santosh Yadav suffered minor injuries in the incident.”

There was an intelligence input that Naxals had blocked NH-30, which connects Jagdalpur and Sukma, by felling trees and digging roads near Totapara village. The STF troopers from Darbha were deployed at the spot. When the team reached near Banjarin temple covering a distance of around two kilometres from Darbha police station, heavily armed insurgents, who had a nefarious motive of inflicting heavy casualties and looting the weaponry from the security personnel, by hurling  explosives and haphazard firing, opened indiscriminate firing at them. The STF troopers retaliated, Kabra said.

In the ensuing gun battle that lasted for two hours, the Naxals vanished into the thick, as they could not match the fire power of the STF squad, he said.

Meanwhile, Bastar Range Inspector General of Police SRP Kalluri said that Naxals had chopped about 100 trees with the help of some 1,000 rural people at midnight on Sukma-Dantewada road.

APC Singh, who had sustained grievous bullet injuries in the incident, succumbed while being rescued from the spot, the IG said, adding that constable Yadav has been admitted to Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur.

Soon after the incident, reinforcement team was sent to the spot and a massive search has been launched to trace the attackers. “The forces also noticed blood stains at several places, basing which they are anticipating that more rebels may have been killed in the exchange of fire,” he added.

Meanwhile, body of the martyred APC Krishna Pal Singh was brought to Jagdalpur Police Line. With a heavy heart, Jagdalpur bid farewell to APC Singh hailing from Bhind district of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh state.

His body will be cremated with full State honours in his native village Sagra under Nayagaon Bhind police station limits. Father of the martyred cop is a retired army man. He was eldest among three brothers. His younger brother is also in Indian Army and posted in Leh.