At least 16 security personnel were killed in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on Wednesday, May 1 after a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) blast, set off by Naxals, blew up their vehicle. The incident happened after the Naxals triggered an IED to blow up the police vehicle on the Kurkheda-Korchi road in Gadchiroli.
A team of the C-60 commandoes, an anti-Naxal unit, was reportedly patrolling the area. The vehicle, which was targetted by the Naxals, was carrying 16 security personnel from the Kurkheda Quick Response Team of Gadchiroli police. Today's incident is one of the biggest attack on security forces in the last two years in Maharashtra.
The incident comes weeks after an IED blast near a polling booth in Gadchiroli on April 11, during the first phase of the Lok Sabha 2019 elections. No one was injured in the incident.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi saluted the personnel who lost their lives in Gadchiroli attack. Vows that perpetrators will not be spared.
The Maoist insurgents, known as Naxals, have battled the state for decades, saying they are fighting for people left out of a long economic boom in Asia's third-largest economy. Security forces killed at least 37 Maoist militants last year in Gadchiroli.
Early today morning, Maoists torched at least three dozen vehicles belonging to private contractors in Kurkheda sub-district of Gadchiroli.
The incident happened when Maharashtra was getting ready to celebrate its foundation day, Maharashtra Divas; while the Maoists were in the final stages of observing a week-long protest to mark the first anniversary of 37 of their comrades who were gunned down by security forces on April 22, 2018.
The targeted vehicles mostly belonged to Amar Infrastructures Ltd and were engaged in construction works for the Purada-Yerkad sector of National Highway 136 near Dadapur village.
The Maoists also put up banners and posters condemning the killings of their comrades in 2018 before setting ablaze two JCBs, 11 tipper, diesel and petrol tankers, rollers, generator vans and two local site offices before fleeing from the spot.