RAIPUR: Sukki is 13, and feels she is on borrowed time. “How can I save myself from the next blast?” asked the orphaned tribal girl from Sukma in conflict-ridden Bastar, who lost her left leg in a Maoist-triggered IED explosion three weeks ago.
She was collecting mahua fruits when the blast happened. She now questions her future and safety. “What was my mistake? What wrong have I done? Will I get blown up again?” she asked as she was wheeled out of AIIMS-Raipur Wednesday.
Sukki’s story underscores the indiscriminate terror inflicted by IEDs in Chhattisgarh‘s Bastar, affecting both civilians and security forces.Just four days ago, a woman was killed in an IED blast while collecting tendu leaves in a Bijapur forest.
TOI met Sukki in Raipur and found a child battling her deep trauma with tribal stoicism. “Soon, I can get around with the crutches being provided by govt,” she said. “But are there more of these bombs?”
Sukki and a friend encountered the IED on May 26 in Bheemapuram village. While her friend escaped with minor injuries, Sukki was severely wounded and unconscious. Villagers carried her home. Her aunt walked 16km into the forest to confront the Maoists. The insurgents sent their “medical team” to her home, which insisted on treating her with traditional ‘jadi-booti’ remedies.
Sukki’s condition worsened, and only then did the Maoists allow her to be transferred to a hospital. Delirious with pain, the child was carried 10km on a cot to the main road from where a tractor took her to Chintalnar, another 10km. She was brought to Sukma district headquarters in an ambulance – a 100km journey – the next day.
By then, word had reached Raipur. Chhattisgarh deputy CM Vijay Sharma, who is also the home minister, instructed bringing the girl to AIIMS-Raipur, another 430km away. A team of doctors saved her life, but her left leg couldn’t be saved.
Sharma assured that Sukki would receive full support under govt’s rehabilitation policy. “We are trying to find advanced IED-detection equipment and to strengthen human intelligence so that no villager, child or jawan falls victim to such blasts,” he said.
“No villager dares say no to Maoists even when we lose our livestock and our children get killed by IED blasts. Maoists inform villagers about the location of IEDs, but not always,” said Sukki’s relative Ashok Gandami. “Every time something like this happens, locals rage in futile anger and then force themselves to calm down because of fear.”
In the past six months, four civilians and two security personnel have been killed, and six civilians and 26 security personnel have been wounded in Maoist IED blasts in Bastar. Over the past five years, 58 jawans have died from such blasts.


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