Odisha blast
In picture: The site where seven Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) jawans were reportedly killed in a blast triggered by suspected Maoists on Sunki-Salur highway in Odisha's Koraput district on February 1, 2017.IANS

At least seven personnel belonging to the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) were killed and six others were injured when a landmine — purportedly planted by Maoists — went off on Wednesday evening in the Koraput district of Odisha near the state's border with Andhra Pradesh. This and a few incidents in the preceding few days have led to fears that Left-wing extremism, after a lull of sorts, is rearing its ugly head again in its old haunts.

Also read: Maoists destroys 1,000-year-old Ganesha idol atop Dholkal mountain in Chhattisgarh

Blast in Koraput and aftermath

DIG south-western range S Syani was quoted by PTI as saying about the blast on Sunki Ghat, less than a kilometre from the AP border: "A total of seven persons have so far died in the landmine blast incident." While four of the cops died on the spot, three others succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.

The blast had actually hit 13 OSAP personnel who were travelling in a truck on Wednesday evening. The injured had been rushed to hospitals in both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, but with some degree of difficulty. ASP (Koraput) V R Rao was quoted by PTI as saying: "Our men are facing problem in the rescue operation due to darkness."

Incidents in recent past

Maoists have become active again in their usual haunts in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh recently. One of their latest capers was dislodging a six-foot Ganesha idol from a hilltop in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh and letting it fall from the hill to the ground. It has since been restored to the hilltop.

Earlier last month, one Sanjay Pandey was beheaded by Maoists in the Jamui district of Bihar after he refused to pay Maoists extortion money. Pandey had been employed by a private construction company and was overseeing the building of roads in the region. Maoist literature found at the spot apparently said this would be the fate of anyone who did any work in the region without the Maoists' permission.