Stepping up attacks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Naxalites ambushed a security patrol on Friday and shot dead 10 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men and injured 10 others. Three rebels were also killed.
The gunbattle near the Chintagufa area of insurgency-hit Dantewada district, about 450 km south of Raipur, lasted about half-an-hour. Later, the police recovered two AK-47s, a wireless set and ammunition from the site.
The killed personnel belonged to the CRPF’s 55th battalion and were on area-domination duty in view of the elections next week. “When they were returning to their camp around noon, the party was attacked in the jungles near Pollampalli,” Ajay Chaturvedi, CRPF spokesman in Delhi, said.
Inspector general of police, Bastar range, A.N. Upadhaya said that among the CRPF men killed was deputy commandant Diwakar Tiwari and a sub-inspector.
“The police have recovered the bodies of three Naxalites,” Upadhaya told HT.
The injured personnel were airlifted to the government hospital in Jagdalpur.
Naxals have increased their attacks in Chhattisgarh since the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls. The state goes to the polls on April 16.
They have called for a boycott of the Lok Sabha polls and told people to stay away from the election process. The CRPF, which has about 8,000 personnel on permanent anti-Naxal duty in the state, has raised its presence to 14,000 personnel in view of the elections.
About 10 days ago, security forces had foiled an attack when an advance party detected a 70-kg landmine buried between the Chintagufa and Pollampalli forested stretch in Dantewada district. The landmine was targeted at a contingent of the CRPF and the state police that was to cross the area.
On Wednesday, one policeman was killed and five injured in a landmine blast and subsequent attack by Naxals on the convoy of the Bijapur district superintendent of police.