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Maoists blow up bus; 11 SPOs, 24 civilian killed in Dantewada
Raipur/New Delhi, May 17 (IANS)
Published on 18 May. 2010 1:22 AM IST
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At least 35 special police officers (SPOs) and civilians were killed when Maoist guerrillas blew up a bus in a forested stretch in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, the same region where they slaughtered 76 security personnel over a month ago.
The bus flew about 20 feet in the air and toppled, killing most of its about 55 occupants, when the Maoists detonated a lethal improvised explosive device on a metalled road linking Dantewada and Sukma towns, about 450 km south of state capital Raipur.
The first locals and policemen who rushed to the site told IANS on telephone that the deafening blast created a 10-feet crater around which bloodied and mangled bodies were scattered.
Many damaged automatic weapons, obviously carried by the SPOs, also lay besides the bodies, which were later carried away by sombre looking police personnel in battle fatigues.
While Chhattisgarh Special Director General of Police Vijay Raman told NDTV television channel that up to 50 people were killed, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh put the toll at 35 dead. Of this, he said, 20-25 were SPOs and the rest civilians including women and children. The SPOs are drawn from the local community to take on the Maoists.
“The bus has been completely destroyed. It is difficult to make out even its shape,” one of the locals told IANS. “We can see 20 to 30 bodies. They are lying all around the site.”
Raman Singh, who denounced the attack as “barbaric”, said the front portion of the bus was ripped apart. He said he would discuss the security situation in his state with Manmohan Singh.
The driver of the bus was a civilian. The attack occurred after 4 p.m. when it was only nine kilometres from Sukma town.
Govt condemns attack
Home Minister P. Chidambaram met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday evening as the government condemned the Maoist attack on “hapless civilians” in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh that left at least 50 dead, the second such murderous assault in 40 days in the state.
“We strongly condemned the attack by Maoists on hapless civilians,” the home minsitry said.
Ministry spokesperson Omkar Kedia said a passenger bus carrying 25 civilians and as many 25 special police officers (SPO) was going from Gadiras to Bhusaras in Dantewada district of the state when it was blown up by an improvised explosive device (IED). The Maoists are acting in desperation, he said.
He said the SPOs were basically civilians assisting police in fighting the Maoists and were attached to Dantewada police. The IED was planted on a metalled road and detonated by the left-wing extremists using a remote-controlled device.
A total of 75 paramilitary troopers and one local policeman had been killed in a Maoists ambush in the Dantewada forests on April 6.
Chidambaram had then offered to resign, taking responsiblity for the deaths, but the prime minister had asked him to continue as had the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that said the need of the hour was to stand united in the country’s battle against the extremists.

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