Gadchiroli attack: Naxal menace will be dealt with stronger force, says Fadnavis

15 commandos, civilian killed after Naxal attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli

Gadchiroli police official Prashant Dute told AFP that the police commandos had been on their way to the scene of the earlier attack in the same area in which more than 30 vehicles were torched. A total of twenty-five commandos were travelling in the vehicle.

Two senior CPI (Maoist) leaders, Srinu alias Srikanth and Sainath alias Dolesh Madhi Atram, were among those killed in the encounter.

The Gadchiroli district, some 900 kilometres (560 miles) east of state capital Mumbai, has always been a hotbed of violence, with at least 17 police killed there in 2009. After triggering the blast, the suspected Maoists, lying in ambush, opened indiscriminate fire before fleeing.

According to police, they have launched an investigation in the case and have cordoned off the entire area.

"More teams have been sent to site for rescue and combat operations", said the officer, who did not want to give his name. Raj said a search was under way for the attackers.

"The Congress-led UPA launched the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in 88 Naxalism-affected districts". Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba had written to top officials in Left Wing Extremism-hit states two months ago to ensure standard operating procedure was being followed.

The police were escorting a truck carrying material for road construction.

Reinforcements were soon rushed to the spot and the injured policemen were shifted to Gadchiroli's civil hospital.

The incident took place at Dadapur in Kurkheda tehsil, said Shailesh Balkawade, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli. DGP Subodh Jaiswal also said that the force would develop and look at all tactical measures. "The forces will continue with whatever operations we were working on".

Wednesday's assault is the latest in a string of attacks staged by the rebels since March, when the TCOC starts.

Maoists rebels blew up a security vehicle in Gadchiroli bordering Chhattisgarh, killing at least 15 Indian commandoes.

The reception was cancelled as a mark of respect to the police personnel who lost their lives in the Naxal attack in Gadchiroli district, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

The chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis has also condemned the cowardly attack on the police force.

Singh said he spoke to Fadnavis and that the Centre was providing all assistance needed by the state government.

The incident has been strongly condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I salute all the fearless personnel", Modi tweeted. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. "My thoughts & solidarity are with the bereaved families", he wrote. The whole country is against the violence perpetrated by Maoists.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said he was "deeply pained" by the attack on security personnel.

"We are extremely proud of the valour of our police personnel", he said.

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