Maoists kill 4 cops after 20 comrades held
Maoists in eastern Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district killed four police personnel in a landmine blast on Monday, a day after 20 suspected Maoists were arrested by the district police.patna Updated: Oct 05, 2010 00:35 IST
Maoists in eastern Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district killed four police personnel in a landmine blast on Monday, a day after 20 suspected Maoists were arrested by the district police.
The blast was triggered when the policemen, including an inspector and two sub-inspectors were on their way to a weekly market at Perimali village in a police jeep.
Officials who declined to be named suspected that the blast was detonated in retaliation against the arrests on Sunday.
"The explosion was very powerful. All four police personnel died on the spot. Their bodies have been recovered," said District Collector Atul Patne.
Preliminary reports said the victims belonged to the elite group of joint anti-Maoist forces in Gadchiroli.
The blast brought back memories of October 2009 when Maoists killed 17 policemen in an attack near Laheri village, 100 km from Perimali. "A police party is also combing the area," Patne said.
Senior police officials were taken aback by the Maoist offensive, particularly when the police had succeeded in minimising the extremists' violence in the area following the arrest of 24 alleged rebels this month.
On Sunday, the district police arrested 20 suspected Maoists allegedly involved in an encounter with the police in Hattitola village that killed 16 police personnel, including five women constables in May 2009.
Though Gadchiroli SP Viresh Prabhu said he was sure the police had arrested Maoists, some locals said those held were not extremists but innocent villagers caught in the conflict. "We have seized arms and ammunition from them," Prabhu said.
The district police said a patrol team proceeding towards a Maoist hideout near Charwahi village was fired upon by Maoists and retaliated before arresting 20 ultras. The arrested Maoists were produced before the Gadchioroli court on Monday and remanded to police custody till October 7.