JAGDALPUR : The fight against the ultras will be stepped up to end the Naxal threat, Union Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Monday as he took stock of the situation after the murder of 22 members of the security personnel during a rebel attack in Chhattisgarh.
Speaking to reporters after chairing a high-level meeting here on the Situation of Left Extremism (LWE), Shah said the sacrifices of the security personnel will always be remembered for bringing this battle to a ” decisive turning point “.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, senior officials from the State Police and Central Reserve Police (CRPF) were present at the meeting.
Thirty-one security personnel were also injured in the shooting with Naxals between the villages of Jonaguda and Tekalguda along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts in the Bastar region on Saturday.
Out of a total of 22 dead, the CRPF lost eight men, including seven commandos from the CoBRA (elite unit of the CRPF) and one jawan from the Bastariya battalion, eight of the others who died were from the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and six from the Special Working Group (STF).
A jawan is still missing, officials said.
“I want to assure the country that this fight will not be stopped, but that it will continue with more intensity until the end. In this fight, our victory is final,” Shah said.
The Union Minister said he paid tribute to the martyred staff on behalf of the country, the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Their supreme sacrifices will not go in vain. The country will always remember his sacrifice for bringing this battle to a “turning point”, he said.
“In recent years the fight against Naxals has reached a turning point and this unfortunate incident has moved the fight forward with two steps,” he said.
Shah said during the review meeting with the chief minister and staff of various security forces, the officials themselves suggested that the intensity of this fight should not be hampered, showing that morale of forces is intact and high, he said.
Shah said that over the past five to six years, they have successfully set up camps for security forces in inland areas.
“The central and state governments have made joint forays (into Maoist strongholds). Therefore, such incidents arose out of their (Maoist) frustration,” he said.
On the development front as well, several works have been done, although due to the coronavirus their pace has slowed down a bit, he said.
“But, I believe action is being taken on all suggestions received from tribal government officials, the chief minister and state deputies,” Shah said.
He said central and state governments were working on both fronts – to accelerate development work in tribal areas and to step up action against extremists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already set the priority: to bring this fight (against Naxals) to a logical end, he said.
Shah further stated that he wanted to assure the people of Chhattisgarh and the country that after Saturday’s incident, the fight against the Naxals will intensify and turn into victory for good.
Previously, Shah attended the wreath laying ceremony here to pay tribute to the security personnel who lost their lives in the attack on Naxal.
This is Shah’s first visit to the Bastar region after assuming the post of Union interior minister, an official said.
Shah is also due to visit CRPF’s Basaguda camp in Bijapur where he will have an interaction and lunch with CRPF and state police personnel, he said.
He will later travel to Raipur and visit three hospitals where injured staff are admitted.
Shah will leave for Delhi on Monday at 5:30 p.m.