CRPF personnel had successfully completed a road-opening process in the Darbha Valley, securing all EVMs used in the April 10 polling in Bastar and officials, before some of them decided to board an ambulance on Saturday.
The decision proved costly as five of them were killed as Maoists blew up the ambulance using IED landmines believed to have been planted months ago. Two ambulance technicians were also killed.
An IED landmine was used in the other blast too, which killed seven polling officials in the Ketunlar area, 22 km from the district headquarters of Bijapur, said Arun Dev Goutam, Inspector-General of Police, Bastar Range.
“Polling was peaceful, but 21 polling parties are yet to return to the headquarters. In the first incident today [Saturday], a polling party was returning to the headquarters and in the Darbha incident, the CRPF personnel were returning to their base camp,” an intelligence source said.
The deceased security personnel in the Darbha Valley attack have been identified as inspector N.K. Rai; assistant sub-inspector J. Kantibhai; head constable Sitaram; and constables M. Obelesa and Dheeraj Kumar of the 80 battalion of the CRPF. The driver of the Sanjivani 108 ambulance, Vasu Sethia, and technician Shravan Netam were killed. Constables Harpal singh, Anil Singh, Bhojpal Sahu, Raspal and Bhupendra Markam were seriously wounded.
The officials killed in the Bijapur attack are B.P. Shastri, Vijay Sonla, Yalam Rramchandram, Khursham Shankar, Enmaiya Jhadi, Satyanarayan Deeangan and Anganpalli Palluram. Ramesh Naydu, G.L. Druv, M. Ramaiya and G. Malla were seriously injured.
The injured have been airlifted to Raipur.
The families of the dead will be paid Rs. 20 lakh each, following Election Commission guidelines, and the injured Rs. 5 lakh each, Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh Sunil Kujur told presspersons in Raipur.