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"Minor mistake" cost 14 lives in Chhattisgarh: Official

 

Maoist

Raipur, April 13, 2014: A top government official today admitted due to a "minor mistake" 14 people, including poll officials and security personnels lost their lives in Chhattisgarh.

"We admit it was a mistake, due to which 14 people were killed in two separate incidents in Bastar region," Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Vivek Kumar Dhand told reporters here.

The top most bureaucrat of the state was on a tour of the districts, where yesterday Maoists had killed seven polling party officials, five security personnel and two medical staff of an ambulance.

After having a detailed discussion with the local civil and police officials of both the places, the Chief Secretary returned back to the capital city in the evening, where he admitted the government employees committed mistake.

"The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) says one should not travel in vehicle where IED (Improvised Explosive Devise) or Land mines are planted. But in both the places people travelled in vehicles and got killed," Dhand said.

"However, no one can be blamed as the polling party was on foot for the last five days, to conduct the election, so also in the case of security forces, who were tired and seat in the ambulance when they were targetted," Dhand said.

"A total of 238 polling parties were sent by helicopters to their booths and some were by foot in Bastar Lok Sabha seat," he said.

Dhand toured the area with the Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh Sunil Kumar Kujur, Director General of Police Amar Nath Upadhyaya and other top officials of both the Bijapur and Bastar districts.

However, the Chief Secretary clarified that the attack on poling party had not damaged any electronic voting machine (EVM).

"Only one of the EVM damaged partially but that does not mean we require any re-polling in any places," Dhand said.

Maoists triggered a land mine blast targeting a bus, in which 12 people were travelling in Ketulnar area of Bijapur district about 425 kilometre south of Chhattisgarh, and in that incident seven polling officials were killed and five are injured, official said.

In a separate incident in another district the Maoists also carried out an attack on the forces, who were travelling in a government ambulance. The Maoists also triggered a powerful land mine blast and blown the ambulance into pieces in Kamanar area of Bastar district, 345 kilometre south of Chhattisgarh Capital Raipur, he said.

In the ambulance incident seven people are killed and four injured. Among the killed are five security personnel, one para-medical staff of the ambulance and its driver, the official said.

"A total of 14 people are killed in both the incident and nine are injured, many of them seriously," senior Police officer Gurjinder Pal Singh said.

Looking into the condition, some of the injured have been shifted to Raipur for better treatment, said Singh, who is the nodal officer of security for Election in Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh alleged the government of Indian had not provided sufficient forces to conduct the election in the state.

"The state has a very less number of forces provided by the India government to conduct Parliamentary election," the Chief Minister said.

"During the 2013-Assembly Election we had sufficient forces but this time one-fourth of the forces the state has been proved by the India government to conduct Parliamentary poll," he said, apparently indicating that the Maoists cannot be challenged with limited number of forces.


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