A BSF personnel was killed when Naxals detonated an IED, while a Maoist was gunned down in an encounter with police in separate incidents in Chhattisgarh on Sunday, a day ahead of the first phase of Assembly polls in the state.
Inspector General of Police (Raipur range) Dipanshu Kabra told PTI that a team of the Border Security Force (BSF) was out on an area domination operation in view of the polls on Monday when Naxals blew up the improvised explosive device (IED) in a forest in Kanker district, around 200 km from the state capital Raipur.
BSF sub-inspector Mahendra Singh was seriously injured in the blast and he succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital, said Kabra, who is the nodal officer for election-related security in the state. Reinforcement was rushed to the spot, he said, adding that a search operation was still underway in the region.
This is the fourth IED blast triggered by Naxals in Chhattisgarh in the last 15 days. In another incident, a Maoist, clad in 'uniform' was gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Bijapur district, located around 450 km from here.
The exchange of fire took place at a forest in Bedre area when a team of the Special Task Force (STF) was out on an anti-Naxal operation, a senior police official said.
The body of the rebel and a rifle were recovered from the spot, he said. Naxalites have called for a boycott of polls in the state and have executed half a dozen attacks in the last 15 days, three of them major ones which left 13 people dead including a camera-person of national broadcaster Doordarshan who was covering the election campaign.
On November 8, four civilians and a CISF jawan were killed when Naxals detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Dantewada district. Besides, two BSF jawans were injured in an IED blast on November 2 in Kanker district.
On October 30, three police personnel, besides the DD cameraman, were killed in the Maoist attack in Dantewada district.
Before that on October 27, four CRPF personnel, belonging to 168th battalion were killed and two others injured after Maoists blew up their bullet proof bunker vehicle with an IED in Bijapur district.
Security has been heightened in the eight districts which go to polls in the first phase on Monday.
Around one lakh security personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of elections. Polling parties are being sent to their destination amid tight security, election authorities said. Helicopters have been pressed into service for air-lifting EVMs, polling personnel and polling materials to polling stations in sensitive remote areas, a senior police official earlier said.
Chopper services will be used for around 200 polling booths, he added. The 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly will go to polls in two phases -- on November 12 and 20 -- and the results will be announced on December 11.
The first phase of polls will cover 18 constituencies of eight Naxal-affected districts - Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon.
In the last Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats and the Congress 39, while one seat each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an Independent.