Gadchiroli: A CRPF jawan escorting a polling party was injured in an IED blast in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra Wednesday, a day ahead of voting for the Lok Sabha elections. The incident comes a day after a BJP MLA and four security personnel were killed in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district of neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The blast took place at Gatta Jambia village in Etapalli tehsil of Gadchiroli when a team of election officials was heading for a polling booth, escorted by police and the 191st battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force, a senior police official said.
The area, which borders on Chhattisgarh, falls in the Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency which will go to polls along with six other seats in Maharashtra Thursday. The CRPF jawan sustained serious injuries in the legs in the blast, and his condition was critical, the official said. The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was attached to a bicycle parked along the road passing through a market place, the official said.
A helicopter was sent to airlift the injured jawan, he said. A high-alert was sounded after the incident. “Police are already on high alert, but we are more cautious after the blast,” another official said.
A combing operation has been launched in the area and the border with the neighbouring states is being sealed, said Sharad Shelar, Special Inspector-General of Police (anti-Naxal operations). Additional forces have already been deployed in Naxal-affected areas. Senior police officers of the rank of Additional Director General are camping there, he said. “People should come out and vote without fear,” he added.