An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh state on Wednesday, March 20, wounding nine people, including one who is in serious but stable condition. The victims were traveling to Dantewada district when their vehicle was struck by the blast around 19:45 (local time). Security forces conducted a search operation in the area for the perpetrators. Further such attacks are possible in the coming days and weeks, particularly in the lead up to the national elections. Polling in Chhattisgarh is scheduled for April 11, 18 and 23.
Chhattisgarh is experiencing an ongoing insurgency conducted by Maoist rebels, also known as Naxalites. An estimated 6000 people have died in the past 20 years, though activities have decreased recently due, in part, to a security crackdown. Restrictions on the movement of foreigners are in place for some rural areas of eastern India, including parts of Chhattisgarh.
A complex attack in Dantewada district on Monday, March 18, killed one soldier and left at least five others wounded.
India is scheduled to hold nationwide general elections beginning in April. Rebels in Chhattisgarh have been known to increase attacks ahead of elections to delegitimize the process.
Individuals in Chhattisgarh are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. travel restrictions), and remain vigilant for militant activity, particularly if planning on traveling to rural areas.
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