Mumbai: Maoists, also called the naxalites, today inflicted huge casualties by blasting an improvised explosive device (IED) and killing at least 16 persons, including 15 members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of Gadchiroli police and a driver, in the naxalite affected Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
The blast was triggered by the naxalites at Lendhari nullah in Kurkheda area of Gadchiroli.
Earlier on Wednesday, the naxalites indulged in large scale arson. They torched more than two-dozen vehicles belonging to a road contractor.
A vehicle carrying the security personnel, who were on their way to inspect the torching of vehicles by the naxalites was blown upat Lendhari nullah.
The core naxalite infested area streteches across three States – Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and districts of Bastar, Dantewada, Kanker, and Kondagaon in bastar Division of Chhattisgarh. In 1999, the Bastar district was divided into the present-day districts of Bastar, Dantewada, and Kanker, and in 2012 Kondagaon also became a district in Bastar Division. Bastar was one of the 16 Madhya Pradesh districts but afterthe formation of the state of Chhattisgarh, it has been divided into four separate districts.
Groups of extremists from across the inter-state border have used these districts as their refuge. They have used this territory to regroup, build their base, and recruit sympathisers and hardcore members of the naxal dalams. During the Telangana movement way back in the ‘50s of the last Century, their movement went undetected. There was of course one exception when in 1950-51, a picket of Bastar police from Bhopalpatnam police station had shot dead three extremists. Thereafter, the district remained free from extremist trouble till the beginning of the Naxalbari movement in West Bengal and its spread in other parts of the country. Since the ’90s the naxalites have been blasting their targets at will, more so in Chhattisgarh. The Greyhounds, a special police force of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, especially trained for anti-insurgency operations against the Naxalites and the Maoist terrorists, have registered remarkable success in keeping the Maoists under check in the two southern States.