Fifteen jawans and a driver of an anti-Maoist squad of Gadhchiroli police have been killed in a powerful landmine blast on Wednesday on Dadapur Road in Gadhchiroli district, Maharashtra.
Many jawans were also injured in the incident. The improvised explosive device (IED) blast is believed to be retaliation after 40 Maoists were gunned down by security forces on April 22 last year near Bhamragarh in the district.
The explosion occurred this afternoon when the jawans were out on an operation. Just when the two vehicles of the security forces were passing through the Dadapur Road towards Korchi, located about 250 km from Nagpur, the Maoists triggered the blast.
Reinforcements have been rushed to the spot and the injured have been shifted to a civil hospital in Gadchiroli.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack on security personnel, in a tweet.
The incidents took place on a day the state is celebrating its foundation day, Maharashtra Day. The Maoists were in the final stages of observing a week-long protest to mark the first anniversary of 40 of their men who were gunned down by security forces on April 22, 2018.
Earlier in the day, Maoists torched at least three dozen vehicles belonging to private contractors in Kurkheda, Gadchiroli.
The targeted vehicles were engaged in construction works for the Purada-Yerkad sector of National Highway 136 near Dadapur village.
Last month, a BJP legislator and four others were killed when Maoists attacked their convoy in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar.
Election time is crucial for Naxalites as they can predate the security and politician’s convoys.