Three policemen were killed in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra Wednesday night when Naxals used a remote-controlled blast to target a school where they had stopped for the night.
The incident occurred between 11 pm and midnight when a Special Action Group (SAG) party had stopped at the school in Motha Jhalia village to spend the night before beginning a three-day long range patrol,according to Special Inspector General of police (Anti-Naxal Operations) Anup Kumar Singh.
Three of our men were killed, he said. He said the SAG unit had gone for a for a planned operation since there was information about Naxal movement.
On Friday,The Indian Express had reported that Naxals are trying to strengthen their bases due to restricted police operations in the rainy season. Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal had visited Gadchiroli last Saturday to discuss a change in tactics and strategies against the rebels.
Naxals are known to plant explosives in village schools since police often stay there for the night. But checking the premises for possible explosives is a regular practice. It is yet to be ascertained if a proper search was carried out Wednesday.
The SP and other officials are there. We will get more details once they are out, Singh said.
The Naxal movement has increased under the cover of rains over the past two months. There was information coming from the Gyarapati area of movement… They were moving in a group of over 50-60 close to Chhattisgarh border. Villagers in the area also supplied information since many of them were out of rice because of having to supply it to the Naxals, sources said.
Meanwhile,on Thursday morning,at least one Naxal was killed in Etapalli tehsil in an encounter with a C-60 commando unit. Unconfirmed reports said three Naxals were killed.
With the two incidents,the number of Naxal and police casualties in Gadchiroli this year have gone up to 24 and 5,respectively.