While a thick security blanket had been thrown open in entire Bastar region in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit, rebels on Monday blew up a bus and killed two jawans, besides injuring five others in restive Bijapur district.
PM Modi is scheduled to visit Bijapur on April 14. He will launch government’s ambitious healthcare programme Ayushman Bharat from the district, which is considered to be the third worst Naxal-infested district in the country. This would be the second visit of Modi as Prime Minister in the red zone.
Over a dozen senior officers had been deployed in Bastar to ensure a smooth security drill for the Prime Minister’s visit. A huge deployment of forces had been made to sanitise the entire area.
“The rebels ambushed a bus by triggering a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) between Kutru and Jangla, in which two jawans of district reserve guards (DRG) were killed and five were seriously injured,” Special Director General (anti-naxal operations) D M Awasthi said.
It was a severe blast that tossed the bus several feet high.
D Ravi Shankar, Superintendent of Police (Special Intelligence Branch) told Business Standard that the rebels have been adopting new strategy and using the Jan Militia — the villagers using arms for the rebels — to execute the attacks. “The rebels are not confronting with the forces and are using the villagers as shield,” he said.
"In the strategy, they are inflicting casualty on the forces while remaining behind the screen. Today’s incident was however aimed to send a message of rebels’ presence ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit," added D Ravi Shankar.
The Naxalites have opposed Modi’s Bijapur visit and had circulated pamphlets in the interior area asking people to boycott the programme.