Bhubaneswar, Nov. 13: Barely 48 hours after gunning down four villagers at Rayagada, Maoists killed three CRPF personnel in a landmine blast in Malkangiri today.
The blast occured in the Maoist-dominated MV-66 village, 40km from Malkangiri, around 8am.
A convoy of vans, carrying personnel, was on its way from MV-23 to the police headquarters situated near at MV-79. As the vehicle approached a forested area, it had to pass over a culvert where the rebels had planted landmines.
The culvert exploded just as the van was passing over it, throwing it into the air and leaving three personnel dead and seven jawans injured. The injured were taken to the district hospital where they were treated for burns.
The deceased have been identified as deputy commander Bhupinder Singh, an unidentified jawan and the driver of the van.
The attack comes right before the government proposed an offensive against the Maoists in the region.
Malkangiri superintendent of police Satyabrata Bhoi said that the incident took place 8km from Kalimela police station.
The vehicle was leading the convoy. Security has been beefed up at vital places, while steps have been taken to intensify patrolling in the area. Additional CRPF jawans and state police personnel have been rushed to the site, Bhoi said.
In yet another bid to restrict the movement of security forces to the district, guerrillas on Monday blew up a new bridge over a rivulet in MV-77 of the district. Though no one was injured in the incident, road connectivity was partly affected.
Todays strike was the fourth attack by Maoists this month. A guesthouse of a private steel company in Chitrakonda area was torched earlier this month. On Monday, the rebels gunned down three men in a village in Rayagada branding them police informers.
Govt plea for help
Perturbed by the growing Maoist violence in the state, the government today decided to urge the Centre to launch a joint anti-Naxalite operation soon.
We will take up the matter with Union home secretary G.K. Pillai during his visit to the state on November 20, said chief secretary T.K. Mishra today.
Pillai will review the states preparedness for anti-Maoist operations. He will discuss the launch of Green Hunt in southern districts. The meeting saw discussions on the need for the formulation of a policy to deal with growing Maoist menace.
Todays attack is tragic and the police have launched a combing operation to apprehend the culprits, said chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who chaired a review meeting.
Increasing attacks on special police officers also figured prominently at the meeting, however, a final decision on the matter has not been taken.
It may be noted here that the state had decided to recruit 3,000 tribal youths as special police officers and a sum of Rs 6.5 crore was provided in the first supplementary budget for the purpose.
The state has sought the help of the director-general of Central Industrial Security Force in training personnel in anti-Maoist operation.