5 killed in Maoist strike day before PM, Rahul campaign in Chhattisgarh
Four civilians and a CISF jawan were killed on Thursday when suspected Maoists blew up a bus with an improvised explosive device (IED) in poll-bound Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said.
Two personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were also injured in the incident.
“Seven people, including three CISF jawans from Akash Nagar camp, were going for routine purchase — on a private bus deployed for election duty — when they were targeted by Maoists,” said Bastar inspector general Vivekanand Sinha.
The attack comes a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to campaign in Bastar. Modi will be in Bastar on Friday, while Rahul will address rallies in the region on Friday and Saturday.
The civilians killed in the blast included the bus driver, conductor and cleaner, Dantewada superintendent of police Abhishek Pallava said. The CISF unit has been deployed in the area for the state’s first phase of the upcoming polls, which the Maoists have asked people to boycott.
This is the second Maoist attack in 10 days in Dantewada. A Doordarshan cameraman covering polls, and two cops were killed in an ambush on October 30.
The three-member DD team was heading for reporting on a new polling booth in Nilawaya near Sumeli camp. People in Nilawaya have not exercised their voting rights for the last 20 years.
Assembly polls will be held in Chhattisgarh in two phases on Monday and November 20.
In the first phase, 18 constituencies of eight Maoist-hit districts Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon will go to polls and the remaining 72 constituencies on November 20. The counting will be on December 11.