Maoists struck ahead of Independence Day in south Chhattisgarh, targeting the police and trucks carrying iron ore.
Suspected Maoists killed two people, including a policeman, in the state’s Kanker district on Saturday afternoon.
Special Police Officer Rai Singh and a member of the home guard (identified only as Ganesh) were shot in the market area of Badgaon village in Kanker. While Rai was critically injured, Ganesh died, the police said.
A village tribal, Duggu Dakua, was also killed in the shooting, the police said.
In the state’s Dantewada district, around 60 armed Maoists set on fire at least six trucks loaded with iron ore for the firm Essar Steel, in the early hours of Saturday, the police said.
“Maoists came out of forests around midnight and stopped six trucks between Bhansi and Bacheli, and set them on fire,” Dantewada Senior Superintendent of Police S.R.P. Kalluri said.
The attack site is some 420 km south of capital Raipur and within two km from Bacheli, a major iron ore mining facility of India’s top iron ore producer in the public sector, NMDC Ltd.
“The trucks that were burnt belonged to private contractors. The trucks were carrying iron ore for Essar Steel. The road was opened for vehicular traffic around 6am,” Kalluri said.
The rebels have called for a boycott of Sunday’s Independence Day function. They reportedly felled trees on the hilly road to prevent security forces from reaching the site where the trucks were burnt.
Of the 18 districts in the state, 13 are Maoist-affected.
The Chhattisgarh government has stepped up security in and around government buildings in these 13 districts.
(with inputs from IANS)