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Chhattisgarh: IED blast kills 7 CRPF personnel in Dantewada

The landmine was planted cleverly by Maoists under the 'black top or puccka' road and the troops were travelling in a three-vehicle convoy, officials said.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
March 31, 2016 2:12:08 am
dantewada1 The vehicle and the troops were blown to smithereens and a four-feet crater has been created at the place were the blast took place.

Seven CRPF jawans were killed in a powerful IED blast, which completely destroyed their truck, in Dantewada’s Melawada village Wednesday. Senior CRPF officials said the jawans were part of the 230 Battalion and were returning from leave to their camp in Bhusaras.

Such was the intensity of the blast that the Tata 407 was thrown into the air and landed several hundred feet away from the blast site.

WATCH VIDEO | Chhattisgarh Video: 7 CRPF Jawans Killed In landmine Blast Triggered By Maoists

Senior police officers said the incident took place at 3.30 pm on a metalled road outside Melawada village. “The jawans were on their way from Nendli, Sukma, to Bhusaras camp, which is the base headquarters for the 230 battalion. There were initially nine jawans in the truck, but it seems three got down at a camp along the way, while one got on. There were seven when the blast took place. The first responders were CRPF personnel from another camp of a different battalion three kilometres away,” said DIG, CRPF, Pradeep Chandra.

Senior police officers said the impact of the blast, which took place 12 km from Dantewada and 35 km from Bhusaras, left a deep crater in the road, with the bodies as well as the vehicle completely blown apart. “Right now it is only conjecture, but the IED could not have weighed less than 15 kg. This was not a pressure IED but required a trigger, and preliminary investigation suggests that given its depth in the ground, there are two methods to plant it that could have been used. One is that the IED was planted before the road was constructed, and the Maoists were lying in wait to trigger it. Second is that it was done recently by drilling into the road from the sides where there is loose earth. This is likely the work of the Darbha area committee (of the Maoists). We will look into it,” a senior official said.

WATCH VIDEO: Aftermath of the landmine blast in Chhattisgarh

Sadanand Date, Inspector General, CRPF, Chhattisgarh said the camp where the jawans were headed had been set up two months ago, and the area had seen many successful operations since then. “Since the 230 battalion was put in place, there have been many successes such as arrests and surrenders, and it is an area where the situation was improving,” he said.

The seven men have been identified as Vijay Raj, Pradeep Tirkey, Ranjan Das, Devendra Chaurasia, K Darshu, J Rajendra and the driver Nana Udayveer Singh. “Their bodies were brought to Jagdalpur at night and will most likely be taken to Raipur early Thursday morning,” a senior police officer said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh reached out to the families of the jawans and condemned the attack. Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel also condemned the attack as “cowardly” and said this shows the state government has been ineffective in its attempts to curb Naxalism.

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