Iron ore
Blast at iron ore mine in Dantewada; police suspect naxals Pictured: An iron ore Public Domain license

Iron ore transportation in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh was reportedly hit after a blast, allegedly by Naxals, set a conveyor belt at the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) on fire on Wednesday. Police have said that the attack was part of a call for a two-day bandh by Naxals in the area on May 4 and 5.

A large group of Naxals attacked the Bacheli iron ore mines run by the NDMC late on Wednesday night, the police said. They blew up the conveyor belt that would halt work at the iron ore mine for some time. The blast occurred between iron ore deposits 11 and five.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the local police, who rushed to the spot after the blast, managed to douse the flame, a police official told the Press Trust of India.

"The loss caused due to the fire is yet to be ascertained," Kirandul Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) MZ Baig told PTI. He also said that security personnel were searching for the attackers.

Naxals, who are active and heavily present in the region, killed seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in March 2016 in Bastar. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) claimed responsibility for the attack, the Hindu reported.

"The Malewara attack on the CRPF was a fitting reply to the exploitative Modi-Raman Singh regime and revenge for our party's martyrs. The attack was a part of our PLGA's (People's Liberation Guerrilla Army) response to the government of Chhattisgarh's mission 2016 against us," a statement by the south sub zonal bureau of the CPI (Maoist) was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The security forces in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur, Sukhma and Darbha districts intensified its operations against the Naxals, which the outlawed group has named as "Mission 2016." According to a letter sent by the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) to the Supreme Court, the attack on Aam Aadmi Party Leader Soni Sori and eviction notices against lawyers Shalini Gera and Isha Khandelwal of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group (JagLag) and journalist Malini Subramanium were part of the campaign. The NGO also said that the police and state-sponsored vigilante groups like Samajik Ekta Manch and Naxal Peedit Sangharsh Samiti were part of the attacks.