Villagers of Tekulagudem village here who had emptied out from their village, during Saturday's ambush by Naxals on a team of security personnel in Chhattisgarh have begun returning and recount how they were forced to flee ahead of the gunbattle.
Q Ramesh, a villager told : "A gunfight had broken out between Naxals and the security personnel. We were scared and had no option but to run away. Many of my friends in this village are still scared."
"We all boarded our trucks and fled to the nearby Puvarti village (a small village). Those who didn't leave say that Naxals had threatened them against calling the police. Police also beat us up to gather information on Naxals. As of now, we are back and are trying to resume our daily activities," he said.
Another villager, a student, told , "When the security personnel were arriving in large numbers, we all got scared and ran away. We could sense danger and minutes later a bunch of Naxals emerged from the nearby jungles and started firing, the police also began firing. That is when we all decided to flee," he said.
"Now we are back home. Upon returning we saw several bodies of Naxals on the way. Afsar log (officials) then arrived and took away the bodies," he further said.
At least 22 security personnel lost their lives while 31 sustained injuries in the encounter that broke out between security forces and Naxals along the Sukma-Bijapur border on Saturday after a party of jawans was ambushed by Naxals near Jonnaguda village.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said that the "battle" went on for four hours and security forces entered the Naxal-affected areas and fought valiantly.
Director-General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldeep Singh who is in Chhattisgarh to monitor the situation following the attack, on Sunday said that there was absolutely no intelligence or operational failure in the operation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the attack and offered all possible assistance.
( With inputs from ANI )
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