15 Security Personnel & A Civilian Killed In Maoist Attack In Maharashtra; What We Know So Far
Earlier on Wednesday, May 1, when the state of Maharashtra was gearing up to celebrate Maharashtra Divas there were two back-to-back attacks by Naxal militants in the Gadchiroli district.
The first attack was carried out early in the morning in the Kurkheda sub-district of Gadchiroli, in which the militants targeted vehicles engaged in construction of a highway. They torched more than 30 vehicles including two JCBs, 11 tankers or tipper, diesel, and petrol, rollers, generator vans, and two local site offices, as reported by the Free Press Journal.
Before fleeing they put up banners and posters condemning the deaths of 40 of their comrades, who were killed by security forces on April 22nd last year.
What had happened?
A second and much more severe attack was carried out some time later wherein the militants triggered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting a police vehicle, which was carrying 15 security personnel and one civilian. The police men were from the Quick Response Team of the Gadchiroli police which was on its way to provide reinforcements to the Kurkheda police station. The bomb was triggered near Lendali Nullah, six kilometers from the police station and resulted in the deaths of all the personnel and the civilian, as reported by The Hindu.
According to the report, the Gadchiroli Division Committee (Maoist) had put up posters declaring the observance of the first anniversary of the killings of 22 April, 2018. They have been targeting the ongoing elections, and before 11th April had triggered as many as four IED blasts, injuring 6 personnel of the Gadchiroli police.
“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,” PM Modi tweeted.
In this statement the Maharashtra Director General of Police said, “This was a dastardly attack and we will avenge the martyrdom of our jawans at an appropriate time of our choosing. At this point, it is not correct to speculate if this was a retaliation to last year’s attack or the killing of the two women cadre (naxals). According to the sources in the local police, Nambala Keshava Rao alias Basavaraj is suspected to have masterminded the attack which left 16 people dead, reported Times Now. Basavaraj is the chief of banned CPI(Maoist) who had allegedly planned the blast by instructing local Naxal units of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Following the attack, a high alert has been sounded in neighboring Chhattisgarh. “A high alert has been issued to all district superintendents of police,” Director General of Police DM Awasthi reportedly said.
In the wake of the incident the governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao, cancelled the events which were scheduled as a part of celebration of Maharashtra day at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.