As many as 11 people were killed and two injured on Wednesday in a powerful landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh's restive southern Bastar region, police said.
The explosion took place in Dantewada district's forested Injeram area, about 500 km south of capital Raipur. The victims include five special police officers (SPO), two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and four tribal civilians.
"The policemen were travelling in a tractor trolley when the insurgents blew it up with a landmine at village Sirguda. As many as 10 people were killed on the spot while an SPO succumbed to injuries later," Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general (Maoist operation), told IANS.
Deo said that two SPOs who sustained multiple injuries in the attack were rushed to Dantewada.
Officials in Dantewada district say that a tractor trolley was coming back after supplying ration to a relief camp when the CRPF troopers and the SPOs boarded it though there are clear instructions to policemen in this forested area to move on foot to avoid ambush by rebels.
Chief Minister Raman Singh has condemned the killing and said in a statement that state government will boldly face the violent activities of Maoists with the help of security forces and will ensure that common people lead a safe and peaceful life in the Maoist-hit areas.
The killing came a day after the Maoists shot dead a senior leader of state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.
About 1,500 people have been killed in Maoist violence in the state since it came into existence in November 2000.
Most of the violence has been in interiors of Bastar region, spread out in about 40,000 sq km area, where outlawed Leftist insurgents outfit, Communist of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), runs a parallel government since late 1980s.