Two jawans of the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) were killed and three others injured in a landmine blast, triggered by Maoists, near Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Friday.

Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha said the landmine was detonated on a village pathway between Buripal and Bhimshol villages when security personnel were returning to the Pirakata outpost (16 km from Lalgarh) after routine patrolling.

The Maoists opened fire on the security forces immediately after the blast. In the gunfight that lasted for about an hour, a villager reportedly suffered a bullet injury.

Srimanta Bandopadhyay and Alok Mondal died while being taken to the Midnapore Medical College and Hospital. Lakshmi Chakroborty, Mintu Haldar and Madhusudan Banerjee were seriously injured.

The condition of Lakshmi Chakroborty was reported to be critical as one of his hands is believed to have been blown off in the impact of the blast.

“Mr. Chakroborty will be transferred to the city if required,” Mr. Kar Purakayastha said.

An alert had been sounded in all the police outposts and camps in the region and a large contingent of security forces have been sent to the spot for a combing operation as well as to check the presence of more landmines, if any.

The Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee claimed that the injured villager, Ashwini Mahato, was their supporter. It was the first incident since the launch of a joint security operation against Maoists in the region in June this year where security personnel were killed in landmine explosion.