Bhubaneswar, Sept. 1: A Border Security Force jawan was killed and another suffered severe injuries in a landmine blast on the Narayanpatna-Laxmipur road in Koraput district this morning.
Maoists had planted the mine.
The deceased jawan was identified as Xavier Kindo from Jharkhand. Dhiren Sahu, the injured, is undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Police officials said jawans from the Pallur BSF camp were walking down the forest when the explosion took place at Pattamunda.
A primary school is located very close to the site and it was open when the blast occurred.
Manoranjan, a teacher at the primary school and an eyewitness to the incident, said the students started crying when they heard the explosion around nine in the morning.
“We went out and saw smoke. We immediately closed the school,” said the teacher.
Inspector in charge of Narayanpatna police station Suryamani Pradhan said that the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans were conducting a combing operation in the area when Kindo stepped on the landmine. Sources said the explosion was so intense the body parts of the deceased were found scattered 50 feet around the site. The blast created a seven-feet crater on the road.
Following the explosion, Koraput superintendent of police Avinas Kumar and senior BSF officials rushed to the spot. The Narayanpatna-Laxmipur road was immediately sealed and the combing operation was intensified in the area.
The Srikakulum-Koraput committee of the CPI (Maoist) had called a bandh in the district from yesterday following an encounter by the security forces on August 18 in the area.
In a separate incident, a gun battle between the security forces and the Maoists took place at Gandapali village in Baragarh district today.
Police sources said around 30 Maoists were involved. It occurred during a joint combing operation by the Special Operation Group and the Central Reserve Police Force, under the leadership of deputy inspector general, western range, Sanjay Kumar.
The exchange of fire was on till the filing of the report.