NEW DELHI: Seven paramilitary personnel were killed on Wednesday when Maoists carried out a powerful landmine blast targeting their vehicle in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
According to CRPF Director-General (Naxal operations) D N Awasthi, a mini truck of the force’s 230th battalion was blown up by the ultras near the Malewara market on the Dantewada-Sukma road at around 3 pm and all seven jawans were killed. Awasthi said a combing operation was launched by the forces in the area. The landmine blast, Chief Minister Raman Singh said, was so powerful that it created a 7-8 feet crater at the blast site. The mine was planted under a blacktop road, which was triggered with a remote control, officials said.Sources said a high-level security meeting was called by Home Minister Ajay Chandrakar to assess the security situation in Dantewda after a series of blasts in March. On March 18 , two CRPF jawans were injured in a low-intensity blast in the district while a girl was killed on March 17.A senior official in Delhi said Maoists were now heavily dependent on landmine blasts after their armed cadres dwindled in recent months following massive surrenders and might attack vulnerable routes using landmines. He said local police needed to coordinate with agencies to ensure roads are safe. He said around 40 Maoists had been killed and over 50 others arrested by security forces in Chhattisgarh in the last three months. In a big blow to Naxalites on March 15, two ultras carrying cash rewards on their heads surrendered to police.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from State on the latest landmine blast.