Four jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force and a deputy commandant were killed while another jawan was critically injured when Maoists triggered a landmine explosion targeting the car they were travelling in near Lalgarh in West Bengal on Wednesday.

While four jawans died on the spot, Deputy Commandant Bijay Pal Singh succumbed to his injuries in a Kolkata hospital where he was airlifted.

The rebel attack came three and a half months after the massacre of 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans at Silda in the same Paschim Medinipur district on February 15.

All six jawans belonged to 166 Battalion. Mr. Singh, who had been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir for the past few years, joined this battalion at Ramgarh only six days ago.

The Maoists owned up to the explosion and laid the blame for the deaths at the door of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Maoist Polit Bureau member Kishanji said, through his aides, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) would continue to attack the security forces until the Centre stopped perpetrating violence on innocent tribals.

Said CRPF Inspector-General (Eastern Region) Nageshwar Rao: “The blast took place when the car was passing through a forested stretch between Kadashol and Pingboni. Prima facie it was a landmine explosion.” The car was flung away, killing havildar B.L. Santra, constables Vishal Sawant and D. Babu and driver Rajesh Kumar. The other vehicle escaped unscathed, he told The Hindu.

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