Raipur: In yet another attack, 10 policemen were killed and three sustained injuries in a powerful landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region, police said Friday.
The blast took place in a forested area around midnight Thursday near Katekalyan in Dantewada district, over 400 km south of Raipur.
It was the second Maoist attack in the state within a day after the rebels gunned down five policemen in Bastar’s Narayanpur district Thursday morning.
“It was a massive blast. Maoists, mainly women insurgents, blew up an anti-landmine vehicle around midnight when policemen were moving in two vehicles on a search operation,” Additional Director General of Police Ram Niwas told IANS.
The anti-landmine vehicle was tossed up in the air by the blast before it landed in pieces, he said.
The deceased included seven special police officers (SPOs) and three state police personnel. Four policemen were battling for life at a government hospital in Jagdalpur town, headquarters of Bastar region.
Policemen who rushed to the site early hours Friday said the blast had created a crater at a culvert where the anti-landmine vehicle was hit.
“The blast gave a thunderous sound. They (Maoists) opened firing after the blast and probably looted weapons of the jawans,” Lachhu, an injured constable, told a local news channel.
Congress, the main opposition party in Chhattisgarh, launched a scathing attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for “continuous killing of policemen and intelligence breakdown of police department”.
“BJP government has lost control in the vast interiors of at least 10 of the state’s 18 districts,” Congress state general secretary Ramesh Varlyani said in a statement.
Bastar region is made up of five districts — Narayanpur, Kanker, Bastar, Bijapur and Dantewada.