Fourteen persons, including seven of an election team and five CRPF jawans, were on Saturday killed in two separate incidents after Maoists triggered landmines targeting poll officials returning with EVMs in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh.
According to the police, in the first incident, a bus with election officials, headed for the Bijapur district headquarters from Kutru polling centre, was ambushed by the Naxals who triggered a landmine explosion near Ketulnar. The blast was so intense that the bus was ripped apart killing six of its occupants and injuring 20. Another official succumbed to injuries in hospital.
In the second incident that took place an hour after the blast in Ketulnar, the Naxals triggered a landmine near Kamanar village in Jagdalpur district, targeting security personnel who were travelling in an ambulance. Seven people, including five personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force’s 80th Battalion, a technician and the driver of the ambulance, were killed in the blast.
Police sources said some of the CRPF jawans, who were injured, died after the Naxals opened fire on them. The deceased CRPF personnel were identified as inspector M K Rai, assistant SI Kanti Bhai, head constables Sitaram and M Umlesh and constable Dinesh.
Terming the incident a result of “blatant violation” of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), senior officials said the “shortcut” decision to board the ambulance by the leader
of the CRPF team led to the carnage.