News Frontliner Web Desk, 2 May 2019: The ongoing General election to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha has already witnessed two ghastly attack by the Maoists, raising serious question on government’s ability to nullify the challenge which the Maoist movement have been continuing to pose a threat for country’s internal security.
After the 9th April Dantewada incident that killed 4 security personnel and BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi, at least 15 security personnel and the driver of their vehicle were killed in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli on 1st May (Wednesday).
The May Day (1st May) attack on Quick Response Team (QRT) belonging to the C-60 force, an elite commando group of Maharashtra police, took place around 12 hours after Maoists torched 36 vehicles of a road construction contractor on the National Highway, at Dadapur in Kurkheda tehsil under Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
Police said that the 15 QRT personnel had left from Kurkheda police station at 11.23 am on Wednesday in a private vehicle and were to report to Purada police station, where Kurkheda Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Shailesh Kale had summoned them, to investigate the torching of 36 vehicles. When the Tate ACE vehicle in which the QRT team was approaching a culvert near Jambhur Kheda village, a huge blast took place all of a sudden.
An off-duty policeman, who is one of the dozen first responders after the blast recollecting the horror said, “The trees were red with blood. There were body parts everywhere, even hanging from the branches.”
Maharashtra DGP Subodh Kumar Jaiswal confirmed that the blast took place when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), using a command wire system placed in a culvert on the tarred road was detonated.
Forensic experts and Commandos of the bomb disposal squad at the spot estimated, after finding vehicle parts flung more than 400 metres away, that 30-40 kg of explosives had been detonated.
Wednesday’s attack between Jambhukheda and Lendari village, which is 6 km from Kurkheda, the taluka headquarters, was the biggest after the March 2012 landmine blast in the district killed 15 CRPF personnel. In 2009, 15 policemen were killed when they went to investigate the burning of vehicles at Markegaon in Dhanora tehsil; much in the same line as the 1st May incident in Gadchiroli.
Last year, 51 Maoists were killed in police operations in Gadchiroli district.
The 1st May incident is being seen as a counter-attack by the Maoists. Perhaps, the Maoists want to sent out a message that they still posses the firepower to take on the security forces and establish territorial dominance.