IED blast in Chhattisgarh ahead of polls, two Army jawans injured

A day ahead of the Assembly Elections in Chhattisgarh, Naxals in the Maoist-hit Rajnandgaon district here triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) blast rocked the Aundhi village here on Sunday evening.

Zee Media Bureau/Sushmita Dutta

Raipur: A day ahead of the Assembly Elections in Chhattisgarh, Naxals in the Maoist-hit Rajnandgaon district triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) blast that rocked Baldongri village here on Sunday evening.
As per reports, two ITBP personnels were injured after the blast took place.

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"The incident occurred this afternoon near Baldongri village under Aundhi police station, located around 125 km from Rajnandgaon district headquarters, when a polling party was heading towards its destination," Rajnandgaon SP Sanjeev Shukla said.

The polling party was on its way to Baldongri booth when Naxals set off a low-intensity IED blast near a rivulet, leaving two ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) personnel injured, he said.

Immediately after the incident, security has been steeped up in the entire region.

Meanwhile, additional forces were rushed to the spot to rescue the injured jawan and Police men cordoned-off the entire area, the official said.

"The jawans were provided primary treatment at a local health centre and are being brought to the Rajnangdaon headquarters," Shukla said, adding the polling staff reached their destination safely.

The troopers, two of whom sustained splinter injuries, took immediate positions and because of their movement in `Y` pattern there was no casualty.

"Due to their alertness the troops were able to combat the blast which was carried out by an IED weighing about 15 kg," a senior official said.

Both the troopers are out of danger and they have been shifted to a nearby healthcare centre.

The polling booth has been taken over by security personnel.

Chief Minister Raman Singh and his three ministers are among the candidates whose fate will be decided tomorrow when 18 Assembly constituencies in the worst Naxal-hit regions of Bastar and Rajnandgaon go to polls amid heavy security in the first phase in Chhattisgarh.

143 candidates are contesting from 12 constituencies in Bastar division and six constituencies of Rajnandgaon district with an electorate of 29,33,200 in the first of the two-phase polls to the 90-member assembly in the state where BJP government led by Singh is trying for a hattrick against the Congress.

As nearly one third of all Maoist-related violence takes place in this poll bound state, the Centre is keeping its fingers crossed due to mounting concerns about the safety of over 55,000 security personnel deployed on poll duty without adequate training.

The Election Commission had ordered two-phase election to the 90-seat Chhattisgarh assembly last month, prompting the unprecedented mobilisation of security forces to keep peace in Chhattisgarh that has borne the brunt of Maoist violence.

With PTI inputs