Three constables of the State Jaguar Police, a task force to deal with Left Wing Extremism, were killed and two others injured in a Claymore mine explosion triggered by Maoists Thursday in the Chaibasa area of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, police said.
The incident took place at 8.45 am at the foothills of Lanji Pahar – an area under the Toklo police station of Chakradharpur block — when personnel of CRPF’s 197 Battalion and Jharkhand Jaguar’s Assault 11 were on their way to reinforce an ongoing combing operation.
Police said Maoists targeted the jawans and detonated the Claymore mine planted at the foothills of Lanji Pahar.
Jharkhand DGP Niraj Sinha said: “A combing operation was ongoing, additional force was going to supplement them and three jawans who died were part of it. Two of them died at the spot and another died while he was being carried to the hospital.”
The Jaguar personnel killed were identified as Head Constable Devendra Kumar Pandit, Constable Kiran Surin and Constable Hardwar Shah. Two injured constables were airlifted to Ranchi for treatment.
According to police, combing operations were being conducted since last month in Lanji Pahar and the adjoining forest areas at the trijunction of Chaibasa, Saraikela and Khunti districts.
“There was an encounter on February 7-8 in the same area. A team comprising personnel from the district police and CoBRA battalion of CRPF had engaged Maoist central committee member Anil alias Partiam Manjhi and zonal commander Mahraj Pramanik,” police sources said.
DIG Rajeev Ranjan of Kolhan Division — which includes West Singhbhum – said: “The operation will continue… After long, we have dominated the Lanji area. This has ruffled the Maoists, resulting in the mine blast.”
West Singhbhum is one of the largest districts in Jharkhand with valleys and dense forests. The LWE threat in this area is high given the terrain and proximity to inter-state borders with districts of Odisha — Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj to the south and Sundergarh in the east. In 2020 alone, 89 cases against Maoists or recoveries were registered and police had also arrested 44 extremists.