Seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed on Saturday when Naxals blew up their bullet-proof vehicle in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district, the first major attack after the Dantewada incident on April 6, in which 76 personnel were killed.

The Naxalites triggered an improvised explosive device blast near Pedakodepal village on National Highway 16, 284 km from here, and fired at the security personnel, Director-General of Police Vishwaranjan said.

Seven personnel of 168 Battalion, including the driver, travelling from their company headquarters in Murkinal to the nearby battalion headquarters, were killed.

One jawan was injured and another missing.

“It appears that the personnel ignored instructions not to drive through Naxal-infested areas,” Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar said.

The injured have been admitted to a hospital in Jagdalpur.According to CRPF sources, an eight-feet crater was formed on the pucca road as a result of the blast.

The dead have been identified as: Sub-Inspector Santosh Chaurasia, Head Constable (driver) Hazarilal, Head Constable H.K. Ghosh, Head Constable M. Subramanium, and Constables Tekram Verma, Rakesh Meena and Santosh Chauhan.

Raktima Bose writes from Kolkata:

West Bengal Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen, during his trip to Paschim Medinipur district's Midnapore town on Saturday, said that additional Central forces for Maoist-affected areas were expected this month.

Suspected Maoists gunned down Sudhangsu Maiti, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Lodhashuli local committee, at his residence on Friday night. This is the sixth killing in the Lalgarh region in the last eight days.

Mr. Sen's visit to the district, his first as Chief Secretary, was to hold a “review meeting on developmental issues” with the District Magistrate and the Block Development Officers of various Maoist-affected blocks and to chalk out the next course of action.

Later, he told journalists that the Centre had agreed to the State's request for additional forces.