Ten cops killed in blast carried out by Naxalites in Dantewada

Dantewada: Ten police personnel and a driver were killed after Naxals blew up the vehicle in which they were traveling in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on Wednesday, police said.

This was the biggest strike by the Maoists on the security forces in the state in the last two years.

The blast, carried out using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), took place under Aranpur police station area around 1 pm when a team of the state police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on an anti-Naxal operation, Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P said.

DRG personnel are mostly recruited from the local tribal population and trained to combat Maoists.

The area where the blast took place is around 450 km from state capital Raipur.

TV visuals from a local news channel showed a huge crater, almost 10-feet deep, splitting the road at the site. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the attack while bodies covered with plastic sheets were also seen in the video.

The security personnel had set out from Dantewada district headquarters after getting information about the presence of Maoists belonging to the Darbha division in the area, the IGP said.

When they were returning in a mini-goods van, Naxals blew it up between Aranpur and Sameli villages, he said.

Ten DRG jawans and the civilian driver of the vehicle were killed on the spot, the official added.

Reinforcement was rushed to the spot and the bodies of the deceased were being evacuated, he said.

Security personnel have launched a search operation in the area, he said.

Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the fight against Naxalism was in its last phase, and the Naxals will not be spared under any circumstances.

“We will work in a coordinated way and eliminate Naxalism,” he added.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Baghel following the incident.

“Anguished by the cowardly attack on the Chhattisgarh police at Dantewada. Have spoken to Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister and assured all possible assistance to the state government. My condolences to the bereaved family members of the martyred Jawans,” Shah tweeted.

In the past, numerous attacks have taken place on the security forces in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, comprising seven districts including Dantewada, between March and June.