15 policemen killed in Maoist ambush in Maharashtra (Lead)

February 1st, 2009 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai/Gadchiroli, Feb 1 (IANS) At least 15 policemen were killed in a ferocious gun battle with Maoist guerrillas in thick forests of eastern Maharashtra Sunday, a police official said.According to the official, Maoist insurgents attacked the police squad around 11 a.m. in the jungles of Dhanora sub-division of Gadchiroli district, about 300 km from Nagpur. The area falls under the jurisdiction of the Purada police station.

A police team had gone to Dhanora to flush out insurgents reported to be hiding there. But the Leftist insurgents ambushed the police squad in what is believed to be the most ferocious attack by the guerrillas in recent times in Maharshtra.

“The (gun battle) was on between the police and Naxalites (Maoists) since 11 a.m. We have an information that 14 police constables and a police sub-inspector have been martyred and several other security personnel are injured,” the official told IANS.

Details of the Maoist casualties were not immediately available.

Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil and a junior minister Nitin Raut were expected to leave for Gadchiroli Sunday night or Monday morning, an official said.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has ordered the deployment of additional security forces in the area.

Accordingly, more than 150 vehicles carrying nearly 3,000 security personnel from neighbouring regions and adjoining districts left for Gadchiroli Sunday evening.

Anti-Naxalite Squad (ANS) chief Pankaj Gupta and Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan have rushed to Dhanora to take stock of the situation, an official from the district police headquarters told IANS.

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