Maoist fire damages BSF helicopter

A BSF helicopter, which was flying from Latehar to Ranchi with two injured personnel on April 5, was fired at by CPI (Maoist) cadres, it is learnt.

Though the advance light helicopter — Dhruv — used by the CRPF in anti-Naxal operations landed safely, it was damaged due to the firing and is grounded now. “I have noticed two bullet marks. It seems one bullet hit it at one point and came out from the other side,” a senior CRPF officer told The Indian Express.

One of the injured jawans it was bringing, CoBRA’s Satya Prakash Jaiswal, had been declared dead on arrival at the Apollo Hospital here the same evening. The other personnel, Sanjay Paswan, was admitted.

The Forensic Sciences Laboratory was asked to examine the damaged Dhruv and submit a report. “We will study the chopper to see the extent of damage,” said a senior FSL official.

CRPF’s IG D K Pandey said: “In the hills covered by green forests, the extremists always have an advantage. They launch attack by perching themselves on top of the hills. Since they were armed with rifles and light machine guns, they could target the helicopter, probably when it took off (on April 5).”

This is not the first time Maoists have fired on a BSF chopper in Jharkhand. In West Singhbhum district, a helicopter was fired at inside the Saranda forest on September 6, 2010. On October 19, 2011, a Dhruv helicopter had crashed on the outskirts of Ranchi, killing two pilots and a technician on board. Though the inquiry report by the DGCA has not been made public till date, CPI (Maoist) zonal commander Kundan Pahan had claimed responsibility for it.

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