Jagdalpur: Union Home Minister Amit Shah attended a wreath-laying ceremony here on Monday to pay homage to the security personnel who lost their lives in a gun-battle with Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.

Twenty two security personnel were killed and 31 others injured in the gunfight with Naxals between Jonaguda and Tekalguda villages along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts on Saturday.

After arriving in Chhattisgarh’s Jagdalpur town from Delhi, Shah reached the Police Lines here, where the mortal remains of 14 security personnel were kept in coffins draped with the national flag, to pay his last respects.

Shah, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and other dignitaries laid the wreath on the mortal remains of the security personnel.

The wreath-laying ceremony of other martyred jawans, who belonged to Bijapur district, was held in the Bijapur town where local public representatives and senior officials were present.

It is Shah’s first visit to the Bastar region after assuming the charge of Union home minister, an official said.

Shah is scheduled to chair a high-level meeting at the Police Coordination Centre here on the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation.

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Chief Minister Baghel, senior officials of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will attend the meeting, he said.

Shah will then leave for the Basaguda camp of the CRPF in Bijapur in a chopper and will have an interaction and lunch with the CRPF and state police personnel there, he said.

He will later go to Raipur and visit three hospitals where the injured personnel are admitted.

Shah will leave for Delhi at 5.30 pm on Monday.

The Union home minister on Sunday vowed a befitting response to Naxals and said the battle against the extremists will be won through joint efforts of the central and state governments.

Out of the total 22 fatalities, the CRPF lost eight men, including seven commandos of the CoBRA battalion (CRPF’s elite unit) and one jawan of the Bastariya battalion, eight of the other deceased were from the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and six from the Special Task Force (STF).

One jawan is still missing, officials said.

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