2 days after 62 maoists surrender in Chhattisgarh, CISF jawan among 4 killed in Naxal attack

New Delhi: Within 48 hours of surrender of 62 maoists before the police in Chhattisgarh, naxals triggered a deadly improvised explosive device (IED) blast on Thursday in Dantewada district in which four people, including a CISF jawan, were killed.

According to officials, the Maoists targeted a bus that was ferrying the security personnel and civilians on Thursday and triggered the blast. The wounded were shifted to the nearest hospital.

The attack comes a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are set to campaign in poll-bound Chhattisgarh on Friday. Gandhi will address five rallies over two days, including in Rajnandangaon, the constituency of CM Raman Singh, while Modi will visit Jagdalpur.

A recent study showed civilian casualties in Chhattisgarh rising to a five-year high, with 43 dying in Maoist-perpetrated violence until September 23. A few days ago, the extremist group claimed responsibility for a October 30 attack in Dantewada district in which a Doordarshan cameraperson and three policemen were killed.

Dantewada falls under the Naxal-affected Bastar region, which also includes Bijapur, Konta, Chitrakot, Bastar, Narainpur, Kondagaon, Keshkal, Kanker, Bhanupratappur, Antagarh and Jagdalpur. Of them, eight are held by the Congress and the rest by the BJP.

This region has been witness to some of the deadliest Maoist attacks in the country over several years, and the recent attack on the Doordarshan crew brought the issue of Naxalism back to headlines.

A total of 18 assembly seats spread across eight Naxal-hit districts will go to polls in the first phase on November 12 and rest 72 seats on November 20. The opposition Congress has been trying to wrest power from the BJP which has been ruling the state since 2003 under CM Raman Singh.

According to experts, the recent spurt in Maoist-related violence is part of an attempt to discourage people from casting their votes in the upcoming assembly election. Polling for the 90-seat state Assembly will be held in two phases — November 12 for 18 seats and November 20 for 72 others. Most of the constituencies in the first phase fall in the Maoism-hit Bastar region.