An improvised explosive device (IED) set by Maoists has killed 15 police personnel and a civilian in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra today. Incidentally, the state is celebrating Maharashtra Day on the first of May.
The team of 15 police personnel of the C-60 Quick Response Force was on its way to inspect the site where a fleet of 25 vehicles which were set ablaze by the Maoists earlier in the day.
The IED was set off on a private vehicle in Lendhri pool, which is around six kilometres away from Kurkheda in north Gadchiroli.
The Maoists were observing a week long protest to mark the first anniversary of their 40 members who were assassinated last year on 22 April. The operation was carried out by the c-60 commandos of the Gadchiroli police.
Condemning the attack, Devedra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister tweeted, “Anguished to know that our 16 police personnel from Gadchiroli C-60 force got martyred in a cowardly attack by naxals today. My thoughts and prayers are with the martyrs’ families. I’m in touch with DGP and Gadchiroli SP.#Gadchiroli”
Anguished to know that our 16 police personnel from Gadchiroli C-60 force got martyred in a cowardly attack by naxals today.
My thoughts and prayers are with the martyrs’ families.
I’m in touch with DGP and Gadchiroli SP.#Gadchiroli
— Chowkidar Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) May 1, 2019
He later tweeted to correct the number of police personnel as 15 instead of 16.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the Maoist attack in Gadchiroli.
Strongly condemn the despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. I salute all the brave personnel. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. My thoughts & solidarity are with the bereaved families. The perpetrators of such violence will not be spared.
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 1, 2019
Rajnath Singh termed it as an act of cowardice and desperation.
Attack on Maharashtra Police personnel in Gadchiroli is an act of cowardice and desperation. We are extremely proud of the valour of our police personnel. Their supreme sacrifice while serving the nation will not go in vain. My deepest condolences to their families. 1/2
— Chowkidar Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) May 1, 2019
On the wake of the blast, Maharashtra Governor cancelled the Maharashtra Day celebration scheduled to take place in the state’s Raj Bhavan.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) May 1, 2019
Earlier, on 11 April, the Maoists had set off an IED blast near a polling booth at Gadchiroli on the day of first phase Lok Sabha Elections 2019. However, no casualty was reported. A day before that, a CRPF trooper was critically injured in an IED blast in Gadchiroli.