MUMBAI At least 16 persons, including 15 security personnel, were killed in an IED blast triggered by Naxals in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district Wednesday, police said.
The blast followed Naxals torching 25 vehicles belonging to a road construction contractor earlier in the day, police said.
Those killed were members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of Gadchiroli police, which was on way to inspect the torched vehicles, an official said.
The blast took place as the vehicle reached Lendhari nallah in Kurkheda area, the official said.
Police teams are reaching the spot for evacuation operation, he said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured all help to the Maharashtra government in the wake of a Naxal attack.
He termed the attack an act of cowardice and desperation.
The home minister also spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who briefed him about the incident.
“Attack on Maharashtra Police personnel in Gadchiroli is an act of cowardice and desperation. We are providing all assistance needed by the state government. The Home Ministry is in constant touch with the state administration,” he said in a statement.
The home minister said the country was extremely proud of the valour of police personnel and their supreme sacrifice while serving the nation will not go in vain.
“I have spoken to the Maharashtra chief minister regarding the tragic incident in Gadchiroli and expressed my grief at the loss of brave police personnel,” he said.
Maharashtra Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal said that the Naxal attack in Gadchiroli was not a result of intelligence failure.
Terming it a “big loss” for the force, Jaiswal said that police “were ready to give a befitting reply to the Naxals”.
“I cannot call this an intelligence failure… The Maharashtra police will take whatever action needed against such activities. It is a big loss for Maharashtra police,” Jaiswal said.
The Naxals want to overthrow the state, he said.