NEWS / NAXALS
MUMBAI: As many as fifteen security personnel and a civilian driver were killed in a blast triggered by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kurkheda tehsil of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra Wednesday. Naxalites were behind the attack, as also another attack the same day, in which there was no casualty, police said.
Gadchiroli is a hotbed of naxalite activities. The victims belonged the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Gadchiroli police. They were travelling in a private vehicle. The blast took place near Lendhari nallah between Jamborkheda and Lendhari towns. The leftist ultras first set ablaze vehicles and construction equipment at a road-laying site in Kurkheda. The QRT team was on their way for investigations when they were ambushed.
Maharashtra’s Director General of Police Subodh Jaiswal denied an intelligence failure and said strong action against naxalites would follow. A link is suspected between Wednesday’s incident and a police encounter near Kasnasur village on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in Gadchiroli district a year ago, in which some 40 naxals had been killed. Also, there was an encounter between CRPF and naxals in Gadchiroli on April 11.
Some 38 per cent of the district’s population are tribals. Naxalites are active in the forests; the district having a forest cover over 80 per cent of its land mass. It is one of the 12 districts getting special development funds under the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme. –IHN-NN