Suspected leftist insurgents killed at least 15 police and a civilian driver in a landmine attack on two security vehicles on Wednesday in the western state of Maharashtra, police said, as the state celebrated its foundation day.
The incident took place at Dadapur in Kurkheda tehsil, said Shailesh Balkawade, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack saying the sacrifices will never be forgotten and perpetrators will not be spared.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the attack in a Twitter post.
Strongly condemn the despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. I salute all the brave personnel. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. My thoughts & solidarity are with the bereaved families. The perpetrators of such violence will not be spared.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 1, 2019
The Maoist insurgents, known as Naxals, have battled the state for decades, saying they are fighting for people left out of a long economic boom in Asia's third-largest economy.
Security forces killed at least 37 Maoist militants last year in Gadchiroli, the same district where Wednesday's attack took place.
Major attacks in recent years
May 25, 2013: In one of the deadliest attacks by Maoists, 25 Congress leaders were killed, including former state minister Mahendra Karma. Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel was among those killed in the attack in Darbha valley
July 2, 2013: The Superintendent of Police for Pakur, Jharkhand, and four other police officials were killed in Dumka area
February 28, 2014: Maoists attacked police personnel in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. Six police officials, including an SHO were killed in the attack
March 11, 2014: 15 security personnel were killed in Sukma district
March 12, 2017: 12 CRPF jawans were killed in Sukma district. After killing the jawans, Maoists stole 10 weapons from the dead troopers and detonated an IED explosive
April 24, 2017: 24 personnel of the CRPF were killed in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district in an encounter with Maoists