Raipur: Seven police personnel were killed after Naxals blew up their vehicle in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Sunday. They carried out a landmine blast around 12 noon when a joint team of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and the District Force (DF) was patrolling the Cholnar-Kirandul road to provide security to trucks carrying construction material for roadworks between Kirandul and Palnar villages.
Five personnel died on the spot and two were rushed to the National Mineral Development Corporation's hospital at Kirandul. One of them died during treatment at the hospital and another was airlifted to Raipur, where he died. Those killed from the DF were identified as Head Constable Ramkumar Yadav, Constable Tikeshwar Dhruv and Assistant Constable Shalik Ram Sinha. The official said that from the CAF's 16th battalion, Head Constable Vikram Yadav and constables Rajesh Kumar Singh and Ravinath Patel were killed in the attack. CAF Constable Arjun Rajbhar, who was airlifted to state capital Raipur.
The intensity of the blast, which took place near a culvert, was strong enough to toss the police vehicle in a roadside ditch, a senior police official was quoting as saying by PTI. Naxals looted six automatic weapons - two AK-47s and as many INSAS and self-loading rifles - of the deceased personnel, he added. Combing operations have been intensified in the area following the attack, the official said.
Condemning the attack, Chief Minister Raman Singh termed it "cowardly" and said it exposed the rebels' anti-people and anti-development mindset. "Our police personnel have sacrificed their lives while guarding a road construction site. Their sacrifice will always be remembered," he said. "This proves that Naxalites do not want villagers and tribal people of this district to have access to even basic facilities such as roads. Incidents like these cannot dampen the courage and determination of our police force and officials, employees and labourers associated with road construction," Singh added.
Naxals are against development and they usually target our soldiers. We will strongly retaliate against such incidents: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh on Dantewada IED blast in which 6 jawans lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/MPyBehEZeU
— ANI (@ANI) May 20, 2018
Union Minister Rajanth Singh also expressed deep anguish.
Deeply anguished to know about the death of Chhattisgarh police personnel in an IED blast in Dantewada today. My thoughts are with the bereaved families of the martyred police personnel.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) May 20, 2018
He is scheduled to attend the passing out parade of the CRPF's Bastariya battalion on Monday in Surguja district.
Earlier, Naxals had carried out a landmine blast in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on March 13, 2018, in which nine CRPF personnel were killed.
(With PTI inputs)