Chhattisgarh, April 05:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah flew to Chhattisgarh and attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Jagdalpur on April 5, two days after 22 security personnel were killed in an ambush by the Maoists in south Bastar’s Tarrem. One Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commando is still missing.

Mr. Shah, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and other dignitaries laid the wreath on the mortal remains of the security personnel.

After arriving from Delhi, Mr. Shah reached the Police Lines here, where the mortal remains of 14 security personnel were kept in coffins draped with the national flag, to pay his last respects.

The wreath-laying ceremony of other martyred jawans, who belonged to Bijapur district, was held in the Bijapur town where local public representatives and senior officials were present.

It is Mr. Shah’s first visit to the Bastar region after assuming the charge of Union Home Minister, an official said.

Later, Mr. Shah attended a security review meeting at Jagdalpur police lines with CM Baghel, D.M. Awasthi, Director General, Chattisgarh Police, K. Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Arvinda Kumar, Director, Intelligence Bureau, and Kuldiep Singh, Director General, CRPF.

After the security review meeting Mr. Shah said, “The fight against Maoists will be intensified in the coming days, the loss of lives of jawans will not go waste. In the past five-six years many security camps have been opened in core areas of Maoists in Chattisgarh. This attack is a result of their desperation,” adding that “Chattisgarh government and the Centre is working together and the action against Maoists will take a decisive turn.”

A joint team of Chhattisgarh Police comprising the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF) along with various teams of the CRPF proceeded for a combing operation in south Bastar on Friday night. An exchange of fire started with the Maoists on Saturday around 12 p.m. and it lasted for over three hours. The bodies of jawans were retrieved 24 hours later on Sunday. The deceased include seven from the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action unit (CoBRA) of the CRPF, a unit specially trained for operations in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas and 15 from the Chhattisgarh Police. Thirty one others were injured.

He is also expected to share lunch with CRPF and State police personnel at Basaguda.

Later in the day Mr. Shah is expected to visit the injured security personnel in a hospital in State capital Raipur.

Mr. Baghel and Mr. Shah were campaigning for Assam Assembly election when the attack took place on April 3 and returned to Raipur and New Delhi respectively only on April 4 evening as the death toll climbed.