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22 Indian troops killed, 31 injured as Naxalites strike in Chhattisgarh

22 Indian troops killed, 31 injured as Naxalites strike in Chhattisgarh

The Maoist rebels regularly attack Indian LEAs and cause casualties  

India’s Maoist rebels, also known as Naxalites, attacked paramilitary forces and killed at least 22 personnel in Chhattisgarh. Around 2,000 security personnel were involved in an operation. However, as soon as the forces tried to enter the forces, they were attacked.

A senior police official said that 22 personnel were confirmed dead while more casualties were feared with a large number of injured. There were reports of casualties on the Naxals side as well but the exact number is unknown. “We can confirm that 22 of Indian force members have been killed by Maoist fighters,” a government official said.

An age old battle

The Naxals have been waging an armed insurgency against the Indian government for decades now. Leaders of the hardline leftist militant group believe they are fighting on behalf of the poorest farmers, who have been severely neglected, even when the rest of the country enjoyed better economic conditions.

Highest casualties in years

Naxals attack Indian security forces quite regularly and a few casualties are fairly normal. However, the current attack was the hardest in years in terms of personnel killed. In 2017, 25 security personnel were gunned down by the Maoist rebels. Last year, 17 patrolling commandos were also killed in an attack in Chhattisgarh.

Rarely talked about in media

Naxalites have been active for decades and somehow rarely are a topic of discussion in local and international media. Indian officials put their numbers at under 10,000. However, they appear to be in much larger numbers as they successfully attack LEAs rather frequently. Their presence is also in a huge area which a few thousand people can certainly not maintain. They also appear to enjoy the local support in their strongholds which keeps them relatively safe. A heat map from 2013 below shows their areas of operations in East and Central India.

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