Joint raids will be conducted by West Bengal and Jharkhand police to nab the Maoists who blew up a Border Security Force (BSF) vehicle in West Bengal's Purulia district on the first day of panchayat polls, an official said Monday.
"We have found from preliminary investigation that the Maoists behind the blast were from Jharkhand. We will conduct joint raids with Jharkhand police to arrest the criminals soon. We have also increased police patrolling at the West Bengal-Jharkhand border to check trespassers," West Bengal Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.
A BSF patrol van of the 39th battalion was returning from election duty Sunday evening when it was blown up in a landmine explosion by Maoists at Bandoan area in Purulia. A 45-year-old jawan, Ali Akbar Sheikh, was killed and three others were in critical condition. Four others including the driver suffered injuries too.
The incident took place in the forests of Sirka near Bandoan village, about 15 km from the West Bengal-Jharkhand border. The BSF vehicle was on its way to Gangamanna area of the district.
Bandoan in Purulia is a Maoist-infested area.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) district secretariat member Rabindranath Kar and his wife were burnt alive in the area by Maoists in December 2005. On May 5, suspected Maoists shot dead another CPI-M leader.
Police officials said Maoists had planned a bomb explosion Sunday in Balarampur area of Purulia as well.
"Suspected Maoists had kept a bomb in a box with a Maoist poster at Balarampur Sunday. But most probably due to technical faults the bomb did not detonate. Later, the bomb squad diffused it," officials said.
The first phase of panchayat elections in West Bengal were held on May 11. Polling will be held next on May 14 and 18. The counting will be on May 21.