Ten police personnel and a driver were killed on Wednesday in an IED blast carried out by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, officials said. The incident occurred when a team of the state police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) was returning after an anti-Naxalite operation.
Acting on a tip off, the DRG team was dispatched from Dantewada for an anti-Naxalite combing operation. The area falls under Aranpur Police Station limits and is located around 450 km from state capital Raipur. The blast was carried out when the team was returning after the operation.
The DRG is one of the units of Chhattisgarh Police formed to counter Left-wing extremism in the region.
“The news of the martyrdom of our 10 DRG jawans and a driver due to an IED blast on the DRG force which had arrived for anti-Naxal operation on the information of the presence of Maoist cadre under Aranpur police station area of Dantewada is very sad,” Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, MHA Amit Shah spoke with CM Baghel and assured him of all possible help from the Central government.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, what has come to light is that over 55 kgs of explosives were used, concealed under a pucca black top road using a method called “fox digging” for months.
“About two months ago, an IED blast led to a massive crater on the Aranpur-Jagargunda Road. However, this somehow went unnoticed. Just four days ago, a demining exercise was carried out by security forces but the fact that it was camouflaged so well and hidden so deep underground owes to the fox digging method,” explained a senior officer in the investigating team.
He explained that the method entails digging a hole from the side of the road. “The access to the inner belly was also packed with explosives. The tar top was done very well. It seems like the work was on for two months at least,” he added.
The area is largely bare, with little to no habitation. “The Maoists must have undertaken the digging during night. We questioned locals from nearby villages and it appears that some work was on since two months,” sources briefed.
Among the 11 killed were Joga Sodhi, Munna Ram Kadti, Santosh Toma, Gullo Mandawi, Lakhmu Markam, Joga Kawasi, Hariram Mandwi, Rajuram Kartam, Jairam Podiyam and Jagdish Kawasi. The driver has been identified as Dhaniram Yadav.