CRPF team narrowly escapes Chhattisgarh blast

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh)


Minutes before the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls began on Monday, Maoists detonated an IED here that narrowly missed a CRPF foot patrol, the authorities said.

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off just 700 metres from polling booth number 183 in Nayanar village in Katekalyan area, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer said.

The attack happened around 6.20 a.m., just 40 minutes before the voting process began here along with nine other seats in the Maoist-infested region. 

"There was no injury or loss to the polling team. Voting started as per schedule," said the officer.

It was the fifth Maoist attack in 17 days in the Left-wing extremism (LWE) affected state, police said, adding that the attacks were part of an attempt to disrupt elections to the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly.

Amid tight security, voting at 10 of the 18 seats scheduled for the first phase began at 7 a.m. These were Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur, Konta, Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal and Kondagaon. It would end at 3 p.m. 

Polling in the remaining eight seats which began at 8 a.m. would continue till 5 p.m. All 18 constituencies are known Maoist-hubs.

Maoists on Sunday detonated an IED, killing a Border Security Force Assistant Sub-Inspector in Kanker district when the troopers were on foot patrol.

The Left-wing extremists have asked people to boycott the elections.

On November 8, a Central Industrial Security Force head constable and four civilians were killed when the insurgents blew up a mini bus they were returning in after buying vegetables and groceries here.

Doordarshan cameraman and three Chhattisgarh Police personnel were killed in a Maoist ambush here on October 30. 

On October 27, the Maoists fired on a CRPF contingent in Bijapur killing four troopers.