A fierce exchange of gunfire took place in a forest along the border of Bijapur-Sukma districts of the state on Saturday, resulting in the death of 22 security personnel.
Initially, 18 jawans were reported missing after five security personnel were killed and 30 others injured in the gun battle which lasted more than three hours. Later, bodies of 17 security personnel missing were recovered from the site of the skirmish, police said.
Paying tribute to the fallen jawans, Kohli wrote in a Twitter message: "Absolutely tragic to hear about the loss of lives of our brave jawans. My condolences to the bereaved families."
Absolutely tragic to hear about the loss of lives of our brave jawans. My condolences to the bereaved families. ð— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) April 4, 2021
Other cricketers also joined the nation in paying tribute. All-rounder Jadeja wrote, "I salute the valiant sacrifice of our jawans martyred in Sukma. May the brave hearts who fought for our motherland #RIP and my condolences to their families."
I salute the valiant sacrifice of our jawans martyred in Sukma. May the brave hearts who fought for our motherland #RIP and my condolences to their families ðð— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) April 4, 2021
Meanwhile, home minister Amit Shah said a befitting reply will be given to the Naxals at an appropriate time.
"'As far as the numbers are concerned, both sides have suffered losses and exact casualty figures cannot be ascertained immediately'', Shah said.
The deceased included personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) and the District Reserve Guard (DRG). But, it was not yet confirmed how many of them were from which security forces.
When the patrolling team that was dispatched from Tarrem was advancing through the forest near Jonaguda, located around 500 km away from the state capital Raipur, it was ambushed by cadres of PLGA (Peoples' Liberation Guerilla Army) battalion of Maoists that led to gun-battle.