Updated: March 24, 2021 6:50:08 am
In the first major Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh this year, five personnel of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) were killed and several injured in an IED blast in Narayanpur district Tuesday evening in what police said was a Maoist strike targeting a bus carrying more than 20 security personnel.
The bus was crossing a bridge, barely 3 km from the Kadenar police camp. Three IEDs were planted by Maoists under a culvert, in a series, police said. The blast gouged a hole in the ground and under its impact, the bus tumbled into the dry bed under the bridge.
Senior officials said the security personnel were travelling as part of an anti-Naxal operation in the dense Abujhmad forests. The blast occurred at around 4.15 pm, on the Kanhargaon-Kadenar road.
“DRG teams from Dantewada and Narayanpur had gone on a two-day operation. The DRG force from Narayanpur of around 90 men returned to the Kademeta camp on March 23. After that, the DRG team based at the district headquarters was on its way to Narayanpur town (300 km from Raipur) in the bus, which was targeted,” a senior official said.
“At least 14 men have suffered injuries including three who have been critically injured. Seven have been airlifted and are being taken to Raipur for treatment,” Bastar IG P Sundarraj said.
The deceased have been identified as: head constables Pawan Mandavi and Jaylal Uike; constable Sevak Salam; constable Karan Dehari who was driving the bus; and assistant constable Vijay Patel.
While Patel was a resident of Narayanpur, Salam was from Kanker, Mandavi from Bahigaon, Dehari from Antagarh and Uike from Kasawahi village.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he had directed state police officials to ensure the best care for the injured.
This is the first major attack by the Maoists in the state in this year, although IEDs have been planted in several areas of Bastar. Last year, 17 DRG Personnel were killed in an encounter in Sukma on March 21, while the party was returning from an anti-Naxal operation.
“How the IEDs were planted despite regular checking needs to be investigated. We are focusing on getting our men safely out…in the morning, we will visit the spot and begin the investigation,” said Special DG (Naxal) Ashok Juneja.
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