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One of the booby-trapped scarecrows dismantled by CRPF personnel along Aranpur-Jagargonda road.
Scarecrows traditionally perform the relatively harmless task of protecting fields from ravaging birds, but as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Chhattisgarh have found, they can serve a much darker purpose too.
Maoists booby-trapped scarecrows standing guard on fields near the CRPF’s Kondasawli camp along the Aranpur-Jagargonda road with improvised explosive devices as heavy as 3 kg. The idea was to trick security personnel into dismantling them, setting off fatal blasts.
“Paramilitary personnel of the CRPF’s 231 battalion first noticed the scarecrows while they were out patrolling on Sunday evening. They initially thought that the flapping figures in the distance were Maoists. It was only after proper scrutiny that they realised what they really were: Booby-trapped scarecrows. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and all the explosives have been defused,” said Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallav.
According to Mr Pallav, the Maoists had a simple modus operandi in mind. “As we have been dismantling and destroying smaraks (monuments) erected by Maoists on the occasion of Martyrs’ Week, they believed that our jawans will set off a few explosives while dismantling the scarecrows. Fortunately, that did not happen,” he said.
Maoists observe Martyrs’ Week to pay homage to comrades killed by security personnel in the past.
This is not the first instance of Maoists using unconventional methods to target security personnel in the wake of the Sukma encounter, which resulted in the death of 25 policemen on April 24, 2017. In a cache of Maoist ammunition recovered recently, police even found a “pen gun” developed by their technical experts.
Chhattisgarh has witnessed sporadic attacks by the Left-wing extremists in recent times. Three months ago, a BJP convoy was targeted by Maoists in Dantewada. The local party legislator, Bhima Mandavi, and four security personnel accompanying him were killed in the incident.
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