Leaders from around the country, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, extended their condolences and paid tributes to the security personnel killed in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
“My thoughts are with the families of those martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten. May the injured recover at the earliest,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Calling the incident a matter of “deep anguish”, President Kovind said, “The killing of the security personnel while battling Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh is a matter of deep anguish. My condolences to the bereaved families. The nation shares their pain and will never forget this sacrifice.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who cut short his visit to Assam to take stock of the situation on Sunday, vowed to continue the fight against the enemies of “peace and progress”. “I bow to the sacrifices of our brave security personnel martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Nation will never forget their valour. My condolences are with their families. We will continue our fight against these enemies of peace & progress. May injured recover soon,” he tweeted.
The government of Turkey offered India sympathy and condemned the attack. “We condemn this terrorist attack, share the grief of the government and people of India and convey our sincere condolences,” an official statement said.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also took to the microblogging site to pay his tributes. “Tributes to our courageous security personnel who were killed in action while fighting against the Left Wing Extremists at Sukma-Bijapur border in Chhattisgarh. They fought with utmost courage and their sacrifice will never be forgotten. My deepest condolences to their families,” he wrote.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed grief over the killing of the personnel. “My condolences to the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in combat in Chhattisgarh,” he said on Twitter.
The Congress’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, however, hit out at PM Modi and Home minister Shah for going ahead with their election campaigns despite such “devastating news”.
“Sadly, Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah are too busy electioneering to take on the menace of Naxalism. TV proclamations ain’t enough. We need to put a decisive strategy and blueprint,” he said in a tweet.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also saluted the soldiers, saying “the entire country is sad and angry at this incident”.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, while extending her condolences, said the entire country bows before martyrdom of 22 jawans in the gruesome naxal attack in Chattisgarh.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, too, extended her condolences. “Deeply grieved at the dastardly attack on our soldiers in Chhattisgarh. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those martyred in the line of duty. I salute the supreme sacrifice made for the nation by these bravehearts. Prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured,” she wrote.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal saluted the jawans for their “valour and ultimate sacrifice”. “India will not forget this dastardly attack. My condolences to the family members of the deceased and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured,” Sonowal said. Sonowal’s Cabinet colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke about the jawan from Assam who was among the 22 soldiers killed in the encounter. “We will never forget the supreme sacrifice of Shaheed Bablu Rabha who attained martyrdom fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
Condemning the attack, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there can be no space for armed rebellion in a democracy and violence should be shed and democratic and peaceful means should be upheld.