15 commandos and a driver of the bus carrying them were killed when Naxals triggered an IED blast in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh have condemned the coward attack on India's security forces.
Security forces were also engaged in an exchange of fire with Naxals, emerging reports suggest. The blast took place deep inside the forest areas of Gadchiroli. The incident happened when the security forces were rushing to the spot where Maoists had torched 27 vehicles early in the morning.
The area was being sanitized by the time of writing this report. Subodh Jaiswal, DGP, Maharashtra said, "15 of our Quick Response Team were ambushed in the attack. But we will give an adequate response. We are firm in the belief that Naxals need to be dealt with the full power of the state."
Gadchiroli Naxal attack: What we know so far
- 1AM -4 AM: Maoists torch 27 vehicles as bait
- 12 PM: C-60 commando (Quick Action Response Team) leave headquarters to inspect the spot where 27 vehicles were torched
- 12 PM: Maoists tipped off an approaching vehicle
- 12 PM: Vehicle carrying commandos refuel their vehicle
- 12 - 1 PM: Maoists trigger IED blast
- 12-1 PM: Many casualties reported
- 12- 1 PM: Exchange of fire between security personnel and Naxals
- Maharashtra Governor cancels Maharashtra Day Reception in wake of the attack
Reaction on Gadchiroli Naxal Attack
PM Narendra Modi has strongly condemned the attack.
"Strongly condemn despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. Salute all brave personnel.Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. My thoughts & solidarity are with bereaved families. Perpetrators of such violence will not be spared," tweeted PM Modi.
"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," said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
"Spoke to Maharashtra CM Shri @Dev_Fadnavis regarding the tragic incident in Gadchiroli and expressed my grief at the loss of brave Police personnel. We are providing all assistance needed by the state government. MHA is in constant touch with the state administration," Singh added.
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— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) May 1, 2019
In another incident, during the wee hours of Wednesday, Naxals had torched around 25 vehicles of a road construction company in Gadchiroli district.
"A group of Maoists gathered around 3.30 am at Dadapur where the construction of a national highway has been going on since the last few months," said Shailesh Balkawade, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli.
They torched the vehicles, which were parked along the road, using kerosene and diesel, the officer added.
"After setting the vehicles on fire, the Naxals escaped into the forest. A search operation has been launched," he said.
A formal complaint about the incident is yet to be lodged, Balkawade said.
Maharashtra: Naxals have set ablaze 27 machines and vehicles at a road construction site in Kurkheda of Gadchiroli district. pic.twitter.com/62c6iNuJU2— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2019
(With inputs from agencies)