At least 16 persons, including 15 Quick Response Team (QRT) commandos were martyred, on Wednesday when the private vehicle they were travelling in was targetted by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast triggered by Naxals in Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.
The police personnel have been identified as-- police constables (PC) Dayanand Sahare, Aagraman Rahate, Sarjerao Khade, Kishor Bobate, Santosh Chavan, Raju Gaikwad, Laxman Kodap, Sahudas Madavi, Nitin Ghormare, Puranshaha Duga, Pramod Bhoyar, Touffik Shekh, Amrut Bhadade, Yogesh Halami and Bhupesh Valote. The 16th person, a private driver, has been identified as Someshwar Singhnath Kurkheda.
The attack was carried out on the Kurkheda-Korchi road near Jambhurkheda village panchayat in north Gadchiroli, a Naxal-hit area. This is the second attack by Naxals in Gadchiroli in the last 24 hours. The QRT commandos were on their way to another spot where the Naxals had set more than 50 vehicles ablaze Tuesday night.
The blast was triggered by the Naxals on a police vehicle.
Earlier, the Naxals had torched more than 50 vehicles and machines used for road construction in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. The incident took place early in the day when the state 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 40 of their comrades who were gunned down by security forces on April 22 last year.
The targeted vehicles mostly belonged to Amar Infrastructures Ltd. and were engaged in construction works for the Purada-Yerkad sector of NH 136 near Dadapur village.
The Naxals also put banners and posters condemning the killings of their comrades last year, before setting ablaze the vehicles.
The incident has been strongly condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Gadchiroli-Chimur region had voted in the second phase of Lok Sabha election on April 28 and had recorded highest voting, at 71.58%.
QRT commando force was conceptualised and raised to battle the Naxal menace in 1992 by the then SP of Gadchiroli Police KP Raghuvansi. The men of this wing were imparted training in various types of guerrilla warfare fro reputed training institute in the country.