Raipur, May 21 (Calcutta Tube) Human skin, a pair of ankles… Body parts are still strewn around the spot in a remote, forested part of Chhattisgarh where Maoists blasted 31 people with a landmine four days ago.
But the authorities have already thrown open the state highway where the guerrillas targeted a bus carrying civilians and special police officers (SPOs) in Dantewada district. The blast created a 10-ft deep crater.
‘Though the road was opened to traffic Thursday evening after a crane removed the mangled remains of the bus, small body parts are still there,’ a senior district administration official told IANS.
The blast site presents horrific scenes.
Some government officials who visited the spot to remove the remains of the bus – which was tossed up to 20 feet in air by the explosion – broke down on finding a pair of ankles.
The passenger bus with around 60 people, including 25-30 security men, ran over a concealed landmine in a forested stretch while on its way to Sukma from Dantewada town.
While 31 people were killed and about 25 injured, of whom 15 are still battling for life.
‘There are still several small body parts strewn within a 20 metre radius of the blast site. I saw skin hanging from a palm tree. It’s a complete horror,’ the official said.
Maoists have held sway in Chhattisgarh’s 40,000 sq km Bastar region since the late 1980s. They stepped up the killings of civilians and policemen since June 2005 when a government-backed civil militia movement was launched against the guerrillas. The violence and counter-violence has led to the displacement of about 50,000 tribal people.
Police say Chhattisgarh has witnessed some 2,000 casualties in Maoist violence since the state was formed in November 2000. These include nearly 1,000 civilians and 650 security personnel.