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Four CRPF personnel killed as Maoists blow up mine-protected vehicle in Chhattisgarh

The Maoist attack took place on a day when Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh launched the ruling BJP’s campaign for the first phase of polls on November 12 in neighbouring Sukma district.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2018 23:01 IST
Ritesh Mishra and S Kareemuddin
Ritesh Mishra and S Kareemuddin
Hindustan Times, Raipur
The incident occurred around 4 pm near Murdanda camp of the CRPF under Awapalli police station, when its 168th battalion was out on ‘area domination’ operation.(PTI File Photo)

Four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on Saturday when Maoists blew up their mine-protected vehicle (MPV) in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district in the first such attack since elections in the state were announced on October 6. Two others were injured in the blast, police said.

The attack came on a day chief minister Raman Singh launched the ruling BJP’s election campaign in neighbouring Sukma district. Elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases, on November 12 and 20. Eighteen constituencies in eight Maoist-affected districts –Bastar, Kanker Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada , Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon – will vote in the first phase. The remaining 72 will vote in the second phase.

The blast went off near the CRPF’s Murdanda camp around 4.30 pm when a team from its 168th Battalion was out on area domination operations and patrol duty, a senior officer said.

“The MPV was carrying six personnel and was around one km away from the CRPF camp when Maoists triggered the blast. Four jawans were killed and other two were injured,” said Vivekanand Sinha, IG Bastar.

Reinforcements were immediately rushed to the spot and the injured personnel evacuated, he said. The bodies were subsequently retrieved from the spot. “We have launched a hunt for the attackers. Combing operations have begun in the area,” IG said.

According to Chhattisgarh police, the Maoists have targeted MPVs eight times in the Bastar region since 2005, killing 42 security personnel injuring at least 50. Instead of using standard explosive devices, the Maoists were using 50-100 kg explosives in containers to explode MPVs, the police had earlier said.

On Friday, IG Sinha had given details of deployment of additional forces and four helicopters in the region in the run-up to the elections.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 18:46 IST