The Bloody Crossroads

The tragic fate of one village and the deadly consequences of India’s faltering struggle against the Maoist insurgency

01 May 2011


AT 5:55 AM ON 6 APRIL 2010, Golf Company of the 62nd battalion of India's Central Reserve Police Force [CRPF] radioed field headquarters at Chintalnar to report they were receiving small-arms fire in the "Tarmetla sector" and had sustained one injury. Golf Company was conducting a three-day area-domination exercise in the forests of Dantewada, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh—a stronghold of the guerrilla army of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Operation Khanjar ("Dagger" in Hindi) was Golf's last manoeuvre before the company was rotated out of Chintalnar to a less sensitive post. They were accompanied by their replacements from Alpha Company, who had just arrived from battalion headquarters in Barsur. The objective was to make their presence known in the district's scattered hamlets: they were to spend three days sanitising the sector of guerrilla presence and acquainting the men of Alpha Company with the rolling hills and dry riverbeds that surround the CRPF camp at Chintalnar.

Aman Sethi covers the Maoist insurgency for The Hindu. His first book, A Free Man, is publishing this month from Random House.

Keywords: Maoists Naxalits Chhattisgarh Tarmetla CRPF Adivasi Ramanna Green Hunt