In chilling first, Naxals insert bomb in body of slain CRPF man
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In the first incident of its kind, Maoists placed a 2-kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) fitted with gelatin sticks, detonator and battery, packed in a plastic container, inside the stomach of a CRPF personnel killed in an encounter in Latehar district on Monday.
The body of Constable Babulal Patel, 29, was recovered along with four other bodies of security personnel on Wednesday. It was kept in an isolation ward at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, after doctors noticed stitches on the abdomen.
Doctors found that the abdomen had been cut open horizontally with "surgical precision" and sutured again. Vital organs like intestines and spleen had been removed to fit the bomb.
On Thursday, the IED was defused with the help of NSG bomb experts in Delhi, who coordinated with the CRPF's bomb disposal squad in Ranchi over the phone. An "electronic claw" and "water jet" were used to defuse the bomb.
Police suspect that Patel's body was taken into the forest on Monday night to perform the procedure. "Two bodies were placed on top of pressure-triggered devices first. They must have come up with the plan to place the IED inside the stomach on the spot. All bodies were placed just half-a-kilometre inside the forest, that too, on raised ground. They were trying to ensure that the bodies would be found," said S N Pradhan, Jharkhand Police spokesperson.
Stating that the incident indicated a "dramatic change" in strategy, he added that the Maoist groups move with all necessary equipment these days. "They even have a compounder. They would have the medical equipment to open the body and suture it," he said.
"It was the NSG team that suggested we use the water jet. We are yet to ascertain the type of bomb placed inside the body. They must have been hoping that it would explode in the helicopter or during transit, inflicting massive casualties," said Pradhan, also the IG, Operations and Special Branch.