Dantewara, Chhattisgarh, Feb 28: At least 50 villagers were feared dead in a landmine explosion triggered by Naxalites today along Sukma Konta road near Darbhaguda village in Dantewara district, police said.
The villagers were returning in two trucks after participating in an anti-naxalite Salwa Judum campaign, organised in Dornapal yesterday when the ultras triggered the blast. The trucks were carrying around 100 villagers.
Inspector General of Police (Bastar) Range M W Ansari confirmed that the blast took place at around 1130 hrs but refused to give the exact number of casualties, saying more details were awaited.
A report from Jagdalpur said the ultras ambushed at NH 43 the two trucks carrying villagers who were returning from Dornapal after attending a meeting of ongoing 'Salwa Judum', the peace movement launched by the tribals against the Communist Party of India (Maoists).
Meanwhile, official sources in state capital, Raipur, said a helicopter has been sent to Dantewara to airlift the injured to nearby hospitals in order to provide them early medical assistance. A large number of villagers had gathered at Dornapal yesterday at the 'Salwa Judum' meeting where the villagers had motivated 128 naxalite 'Sangam members' to surrender and return to the national mainstream.
The tribals of south Bastar, reeling under naxalite violence for over three-decade, launched 'Salwa Judum'( fight for peace movement) more than six months ago.
As the campaign against Naxalites is spreading, Maoists have stepped up attacks against those associated with the movement, claiming it was state sponsored.