It was a heart rending scene at the landmine blast site at Pathra crossing near Obra, where seven persons including Sushil Pandey, husband of district board member Usha Devi, were killed in a Maoist attack on Thursday evening.
Blown up bodies and dismembered limbs lay scattered in an area spanning 400 meters from the blast site. Most of the bodies were so badly shredded, that they could hardly be recognized. Singh's torso lay near the engine of the Tata Safari, in which he was returning from hospital, while his lower limbs possibly were blown into smithereens.
Singh had taken the son of Bhola Pandey of Pisai village, who was bitten by a snake, to the nearby Tarari hospital for treatment. Accompanied by six other villagers, Pandey had passed through the Pathra crossing about an hour before the blast occurred. He was supposed to be back in his village before sunset.
The Maoists, who had threatened to kill him, possibly knew about his movement and planted the landmine at the Pathra crossing. As soon as Pandey, who was driving the vehicle, reached the crossing, the Maoists triggered the landmine.
The explosion was so devastating that the vehicle was thrown around 300 metres away from the site and completely mangled. It created a 20-ft diameter crater in the middle of the road. Villagers around the site of the blasts said, seven bodies were found near the wreckage of the Tata Safari vehicle.
"The attack looks like it was well planned as the landmine was planted in the middle of the road and was set off as soon as the vehicle passed over it. We want the government to take appropriate action against the marauders," said Saurabh Kumar.
Villagers of Pisai vented their anger against government's inaction in tackling Naxal violence in central Bihar. "There is an attempt by vested interests to breach peace in the area. We have been telling the authorities to take adequate steps to deal with the situation but nothing tangible has been done so far. The incident has forced us to rethink our survival strategy," said a visibly angry Shashi Singh.
The scene at Kubri in Arwal district, Pandey's in-laws village, turned equally poignant as soon as the news of his death in a landmine blast reached the village. Grief hung over the village, as news of the tragedy unfolded.
Pandey's brother-in-law Rupesh Sharma, a folk artist, broke into tears even as the neighbours huddled together, comforting each other.