Seven policemen were killed and six others injured in a landmine blast in Maoist-hit Chhaterpur village of Jharkhand’s Palamu district on Wednesday evening.
The police team was returning to Hussainabad after conducting long-range patrolling in the Kala Pahar region, considered a Maoist hotbed.
Hussainabad police station officer-in-charge Rajesh Prasad Rajak, who was leading the team, miraculously escaped as explosion took place seconds after his vehicle crossed the spot.
The blast, suspected to have been triggered by CPI (Maoists), was reported around 5.30pm. The policemen, who were travelling in a mini-truck, were in violation of the standard operational procedure, a source said.
“Seven police personnel including the police driver, chowkidar, one head constable and four constables were killed and six injured when an IED triggered by the Maoists blew up their vehicle,” inspector general (Operation) MS Bhatia said.
“All the injured police personnel have been rescued from the spot and admitted to a Daltonganj hospital. An MI- 17 helicopter has been sent to Daltonganj to bring them to Ranchi for better treatment,” he added.
A group of Maoists had on Monday set fire to an under-construction mobile phone tower owned by BSNL in the Kala Pahar region. They also clashed with members of rival Tritiya-Sammelan Prastuti Committee on Wednesday.
Kala Pahar -- a densely forested hilly terrain – is near the border with Bihar and provides easy access to the Maoists infiltrating from the state.
The security forces had launched an anti-Maoist offensive in the Kala Pahar region recently and raided the hideout of the extremists.