New Delhi: A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel was killed when Naxals detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district on Sunday, just a day ahead of the first phase of Assembly polls in the state.
The explosion took place in a forest when a BSF team was out on an area domination operation in view of the polls on Monday, Inspector General of Police (Raipur range) Dipanshu Kabra told PTI. When the patrolling team was in the forest between Kattakal and Gome villages, around 200 km away from the state capital Raipur, the ultras blew up the IED, he said.
BSF sub-inspector Mahendra Singh was seriously injured in the blast and he succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital, said Kabra, who is the nodal officer for election-related security in the state. Reinforcement was rushed to the spot, he said, adding that a search operation was still underway in the region.
This is the fourth IED blast triggered by Naxals in Chhattisgarh in the last 15 days. ANI reported that a set of 6 IEDs were planted in a series and set off in one go in Kanker's Koyali Beda.
As per initial information, two Naxals were also killed in an ongoing operation in Bijapur district. Arms and ammunition have been recovered. The exchange of fire took place at a forest in Bedre area when a team of the Special Task Force (STF) was out on an anti-Naxal operation, a senior police official said, adding that the Naxal was clad in 'uniform'.
Naxal outfits have carried out three major attacks in the last fortnight which have claimed the lives of 13 people, including eight security personnel.
In the last 10 days, over 300 IEDs were recovered from Bastar region and Rajnandgaon district by security forces, Chhattisgarh's Special Director General (Anti-Naxal Operations) DM Awasthi had said earlier.
Around 650 companies, including those from paramilitary units like CRPF, BSF, ITBP and around 65,000 personnel from police forces of other states have been sent by the Centre for the assembly polls.
Awasthi had added that there were inputs of Naxals planning to plant improvised explosive devices to target security forces and that personnel who had arrived from other states had been advised to avoid using any road unless it had been sanitised by "road opening parties" (ROPs) or had been subject to a de-mining exercise to detect and clear IEDs.
Polling in 10 constituencies — Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta — will start at 7 am and end at 3 pm on Monday.
In the other eight seats — Khairgarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakot — the polling time will be 8 am to 5 pm.
On November 8, four civilians and a CISF jawan were killed when Naxals detonated a bus with an improvised explosive device in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.
On October 30, three police personnel and a cameraman of national broadcaster Doordarshan were killed in a Maoist attack in Aranpur area of Dantewada.
On October 27, four CRPF personnel, belonging to 168th battalion were killed and two others injured after Maoists blew up their bullet proof bunker vehicle in Awapalli area of Bijapur district.