At 6:45 am, Golf reported six more injuries and called again, frantically, for reinforcements. The company was now caught in a textbook ambush, with the Maoists occupying the raised ground and the CRPF pinned down in an open field, under fire, or so it seemed, from all sides. A Maoist machine-gunner on the top of a hill was picking off targets at will, even as guerrillas taking cover in shallow ditches and gullies threw grenades and petrol bombs at the hapless soldiers. Well-positioned Maoist snipers took aim at CRPF machine-gunners and communications specialists. Survivors from Golf Company later said they saw machine-gunners shooting from trees, with replacement fighters taking cover behind the trunks, ready to climb up in case the gunners were taken out.
At 7:45 am, Golf Company’s deputy commandant, Satyawan Yadav, made a phone call from the vortex of the ambush to say that his company had been completely surrounded—and then the phone went silent.
When reinforcements finally arrived from Chintalnar at 9:30 am, three and half hours after the first call for help, only seven badly injured troopers were still alive. The remaining 76 corpses had been arranged 15 to a pile, carefully stripped of their rifles, munitions, grenades, mortars and wireless sets. The Maoists, meanwhile, had laid their fallen comrades on makeshift stretchers and slipped back into the forests.
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