DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SINCE 1932 `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM WORST ATTACK IN CHHATTISGARH IN FOUR YEARS Day after Maoist ambush: bodies of 20 personnel recovered, toll 22 How a massive security operation was planned and how it went wrong GARGI VERMA & DIPANKAR GHOSE BIJAPUR/KOLKATA, APRIL 4 In Bastar village, bodies of securitymen with multiple bullet wounds; police say at least 12 Maoists killed GARGI VERMA JHIRAGAON (CHHATTISGARH), APRIL 4 THE HUTS were shut and the bodies laid out on the ground outside, one of them on a bed of dry leaves dull red in colour like the caked blood, dotted with small mahua flowers. Twenty-four hours after a group of security personnel were ambushed by Maoists in Raipur CHHATTISGARH Bijapur district Tarrem Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, Jhiragaon village in the jungles along the borders of Sukma and Bijapurborethescarsof thegunbattle: 22 dead, 30 injured, one still missing — the highest casualty in such an attack over the past four years. Two bodies had been found Saturday. On Sunday, the bodies of 20morepersonnelwerefound alongwiththatof awomanfrom the Maoist ranks and an INSAS CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E EXPLAINED Security personnel carrying out a combing operation in the forests of South Bastar on Sunday, a day after the Naxal attack. Reuters LYING ON a bed on Sunday morning at the Bijapur district hospital, a shrapnel injury on his leg and a shallow gun wound on his arm, the Chhattisgarh Police jawan can't stop going over the events of the previous day in his mind. He has now come to an overwhelming conclusion: he and his colleagues had walked into a trap laid out by the Maoists. "We didn't find anything when we reached the spot we were asked to reach. Once we started returning, they ambushed us. There were so many of them, so suddenly... it had to be planned," he said. Sources in the know of the operational plan told The Indian Express that 10 teams were launched in all — two from Sukma district and eight from three camps in Bijapur. It was a massive operation that included the STF, DRG and DistrictForceof theChhattisgarh Police, the CRPF and its elite COBRA unit, with close to a 1,000 personnel from Bijapur alone. Sixof theeightBijapurteams were launched from the Tarrem camp while the other two were from Usur and Pamed. Of the six teams, three — one comprising of District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force(STF),anotherofaDRGteam andoneCOBRAteam— werelaunchedat10pm on the night of April 2. The operational plan wasforthemtotravelto Alipuda and Jonaguda, ● 11 and 12 kilometres southofTarremrespectively,andreturnat6pmthenext day,onApril3.Theseteamswent the deepest and were the ones that came under fire. Jawans who were survived the gunfight told The Indian Express that several things went wrong. One of the injured in Bijapur district hospital said, “After we didn't find anything at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EC rejects Mamata complaint: ‘Factually wrong... misdemeanour’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 4 BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma at a rally in Hajo on Sunday. PTI STRONGLY REJECTING West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s allegations of irregularities at a polling booth inNandigramonApril1, the Election Commission of India Sunday called her complaint “factually incorrect” and claimed that DECISION her “narrative” construed “misdemeanor.” 2021 Mamata had complained to EC on April 1 OnApril 1,Banerjee, who is contesting from Nandigram, was held up for more than two hours at a pollingbooth in Boyal, as supporters of the ruling Trinamool and BJP nearly came to THE EDITORIAL PAGE COMMISSION & OMISSION PAGE 8 blows. The wheelchair-bound CM could move out only after a largecontingentof Centralforces and police personnel reached the site. Later, Banerjee blamed outsiders for creating trouble and accused the EC of not acting on complaints lodged by her Five rallies, one road show, minor blip: Sarma’s extra day out In Kerala’s din, a mother seeking justice, a wife calling for peace ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, APRIL 4 WITH THEElectionCommission cutting down the ban on him campaigning from 48 hours to 24, senior BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma counted down the end of Assam'spollcampaignwithaseries of rallies. The ban, following Sarma's threat to put Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary behind bars on an NIA case, had been announced onFriday.After it ended on the completion of BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY AMRITH LAL DHARMADAM, VADAKARA, APRIL 4 FROM THE distance it looks like a cross. But it’s just a long pole with a crossbar, on both sides of which hang two small, white frocks with marks that look like blood stains. Accompanying it are half-a-dozen people who make up the campaign team of the woman who has been dubbed the ‘Walayar mother’, and who is contesting as a candidate from Dharmadam, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RMP’s K K Rema is fighting from Vadakara. Amrith Lal CPM fortress from where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is standing for re-election. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Long way from home, in Walayar, a town near Palakkad on the Tamil Nadu border, she handsoutpamphlets—toeveryone,inshops,thosewalkingpast her.Theystop,listen,butfewengage with her. Making a halt at a bus stop on the highway connecting Dharmadam to Kozhikode in the south and Mangalore in the north, she says in simple, clear Malayalam: “I wantjustice.Iwaspromisedjustice by the CM, but the government is protecting the police officers who subverted the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Teacher, manager, mountaineer... now, first cricketer from Ladakh in J&K team PAGE 1 ANCHOR ‘Preventing crowding very, very difficult... Need strategies on what to do despite people not following Covid norms’ RANDEEP GULERIA DIRECTOR, ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES PAGE 10 THE EDITORIAL PAGE ON FUELPRICE, CRUDE FACT BY SUSHIL MODI PAGE 8 SHAHID JUDGE MUMBAI, APRIL 4 HE HAS trained as a monk, worked as a physical education teacher, been a sales manager at aDecathlonsportsoutlet,andoften taken up the job of managing trekking camps during the tourist season. But that's not what Skalzang Kalyan Dorje is excited to talk about over the phone from his home in Leh's Tukla village, shielding his voice from the cold wind howling outside. “Therewasevenatimewhen I used to run after goats as a Skalzang Kalyan Dorje in Leh’s Tukla village. Express herder. Now I’m the first person from Ladakh to play domestic cricket...I represented Jammu and Kashmir at Syed Mushtaq T20 Tournament,” says the 31- year-old allrounder. Had it not been for the pandemic that caused the cancellation of the 2020-2021 Ranji Trophyseason--theT20tourna- ment was held instead -- Dorje may also have become the first player from Ladakh to become a First Class cricketer. There’s a strong chance that it may still happen -- J&K and Ladakh are two separate Union Territories now, but the Cricket Association of Ladakh (CAL) is not yet affiliated with the BCCI. Says the J&K team's captain, ParvezRasool:“Lastseason,Ihad travelledtoLadakhtoseethetalent and there were four-five good players. Dorje was one of them. We played a few practice gamesandhedismissedafewof our good batsmen. He’s a decent left-arm spinner, a great fielder andahandybatsman.Hehaspotential but at the same time he has to work hard.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai. Sunday’s announcement triggered a new rush to stations from where long-distance trains leave for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Ganesh Shirsekar COVID SURGE India breaches 1-lakh daily mark, weekends shut in Maharashtra Modi directs officials to send Central teams to hotspot states New curbs in worst-hit state: malls, restaurants shut, night curfew AMITABH SINHA & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M VISHWAS WAGHMODE PUNE, NEW DELHI, APRIL 4 INDIA'SDAILYCovidcountscaled a new peak Sunday, with more than 1 lakh cases being reported forthefirsttimeever.Over57,000 positivecaseswerereportedfrom Maharashtraalone,anewrecord for the state that has now imposed a weekend lockdown, as the national tally crossed 1.01 lakh, according to latest reports available — a few states like Odisha and Telangana report theirnumbersthenextmorning. The previous high was achieved on September 16 last year, when 97,894 positive cases werereported.Thenumbershad startedslidingafterthat,andthe decline continued for five monthsbeforeasurge,described as a “second wave”, started. The 1-lakh mark was breached on the day Prime CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, APRIL 4 WITH MAHARASHTRA recording its highest single-day jump in Covid cases of 57,704 on Sunday, the state announced fresh restrictions to last through April, includinga total lockdown on weekends. The restrictions announced bytheChief Minister'sOfficewill include daytime prohibitory orders on assembly of more than five people and daily night curfews from 8 pm to 7 am. Named 'Break the Chain', the curbs are to come into force from 8 pm on Monday and remain in force until April 30. The weekend lockdown will begin 8 pm Fridays and continue until 7 am Mondays. Section 144 will be imposed prohibiting the assembly of more than five people from 7 am to 8 pm. All types of shops, malls and markets, except those selling SECTION144 DURINGDAYTIME ■ Total lockdown 8 pm Fridays to 7 am Mondays ■ Daily night curfew 8 pm to 7 am ■Sec 144 during daytime ■ All markets shut except essentials ■ Malls, cinemas, spas, restaurants shut ■ Staff of essential shops to get vaccines ■ Schools, colleges shut ■ Private offices to work from home ■ Limit on passengers in autos, taxis groceries,medicinesandvegetables, will remain closed until April 30. This means closure of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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