MUMBAI: In a major Naxal attack after Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh’s recent visit to Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, about 12 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel perished as the bus they were travelling was blown up by a land mine.
According to police officers in Gadchiroli, at 11.30 am on Tuesday the bus carrying about 30 CRPF personnel of the 192 Battalion was blown up in Pushtola village four km from Gadchiroli.
The impact of the explosion was so intense that the CRPF jawans were thrown out of the bus. Immediately after the blast, the Naxals opened fire on the jawans.
The jawans who survived the blasts returned the fire forcing the Naxals to flee.
Twelve CRPF personnel, including three sub-inspectors, died, while 28 other personnel were seriously injured.
The injured men were rushed to Nagpur for treatment.
Denying that the CRPF personnel were heading for an anti-Naxal operation, CRPF officials said they were going for civic activities.
The convoy of four buses was going to Gatta village to distribute medical kits and books to the villagers as part of civic activities.
The Naxals had targeted the last bus of the convoy as it had most personnel on board.
The CRPF officials also added that a road clearing patrol had gone on the route to check for any land mines but did not find anything amiss. The reason the patrol did not find anything amiss came to be known later when police found that the mine was placed in a tunnel dug ten feet below the road and was triggered by a wire by Naxals about 200 feet away.
CRPF Chief K Vijay Kumar, who was touring Gadchiroli district at the time of the attack, is on his way to the blast site, said officials.
Senior Maharashtra Police officers are also on their way to Gadchiroli.