15 troopers, driver killed in Maoist blast in Maharashtra (Lead)
At least 15 C-60 commandos, including a woman, and a driver, were killed in a blast on two security vehicles triggered by Maoists in Kurkheda tehsil of Gadchiroli district on Wednesday afternoon, Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
The C-60 Force, comprising locals as well as police personnel, was formed to tackle the Naxal menace. Several more troopers were injured and the two vehicles were blown to pieces in the attack.
"This is a massive tragedy coming on a day when the entire state is celebrating Maharashtra Day," he told newspersons.
Amid apprehensions that the toll could increase, Mungantiwar said that he had spoken with the concerned district and security agencies and would soon speak with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
According to official sources, the incident occurred hours after suspected Maoists torched at least 36 heavy vehicles and two site offices of a road building contractor, near Dadapur village in the Kurkheda sub-district. IANS