Within weeks of peaceful polling in partially Maoist-controlled south Chhattisgarh, four constables of a road opening party (ROP) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in an ambush in Bijapur district by Maoists. Three more suffered injuries.

The incident took place in Nukanpal village, under Modakpal police station, 18 km north of Bijapur district headquarters, CRPF sources said.

The ROP was moving from the Cheramungi police outpost to further north in Murkinarh village when the ambush took place. Maoists opened fire and blasted landmines. Improvised explosive devices (IED) were planted in the trees beforehand. Once the firing started, the constables took shelter near the trees and then the mines went off, a senior security official told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.

The deceased have been identified as Digambar Bayan from Tinsukia district of Assam, Dilip Kumar from Chandauli in U.P., Amitabh Mishra from Bankura district of West Bengal and Madanlal Aake of Chopan in Madhya Pradesh. All of them were attached to 168 Battalion.