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Fifteen security personnel and their driver were killed in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli after a powerful explosion, set off by Maoists, blew up their vehicle.

The explosion occurred today (Wednesday, May 1) afternoon when the jawans were out on an operation. Just when the two vehicles of the security forces were passing through the Dadapur Road towards Korchi, located about 250 km from Nagpur, the Maoists triggered the blast.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack on security personnel. “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,” PM Modi tweeted.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the incident. “We are providing all assistance needed by the state government. MHA is in constant touch with the state administration,” he tweeted, condoling the deaths.

The incident comes weeks after an IED blast near a polling booth in Gadchiroli on April 11, during the first phase of the national election. No one was injured in the incident. A day before that, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper was critically injured in an IED blast in Gadchiroli.

The incident comes on a day when Maharashtra is celebrating its foundation day. The Maoists were in the final stages of observing a week-long protest to mark the first anniversary of 40 of their members who were gunned down by security forces on April 22 last year.

Also Read: Central Forces will maintain polling booths in West Bengal, not state Police: EC

In April last year, security forces had carried out one of the biggest anti-Maoist operations in Maharashtra in which 40 Maoists were killed. The operation was planned by C-60 commandos of the Gadchiroli police based on specific intelligence about a meeting of top dalams or Maoist squads

On April 9, five people including a BJP legislator and four security personnel were killed in a Maoist-triggered IED blast in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.

Gadchiroli voted in the first phase of national election on April 11.

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