Maoists claim blast that killed 15 commandos
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has claimed it triggered the May 1 blasts in Bhamragad area of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. The blast, set off by an improvised explosive device (IED), killed all 15 commandos of a Quick Response Team (QRT) and the driver of the private vehicle they were travelling in.
Maoists had earlier torched 26 vehicles of a road construction company in the wee hours of May 1 in Dadapur. The QRT commandos were responding to an SOS call by subdivisional police officer Shailesh Kale.
An IED planted under a culvert was triggered by the Maoists when the QRT vehicle reached the spot killing all the commandos and the driver on the spot. No road opening party was present as per standard operating procedure which could have cleared the road for the commandoes. Due to this they were caught unawares and ambushed.
The Maoists used over 30 kg of explosives. The commandos were blown into pieces. The remains had to be sent for DNA analysis later on to ascertain the identities. This is not for the first time that Maoists have carried out such activities. They have been active in various other talukas of the Gadchiroli district. Vehicles used for road construction had been torched earlier too.
Seventeen days after the attack, Maoists have issued a press release claiming responsibility for the attack to avenge the killings of cadres. A letter from the Maoists congratulating their cadres for the attack was found in the Bhamragad area. The press release said that the ambush was to avenge the killing of 40 People's Liberation Guerilla Army cadres.