Naxal attack in Maha: 11 CRPF personnel killed

Gadchiroli (Maha): Eleven CRPF personnel were today killed and several others injured when a bus they were travelling in was blown up in a landmine blast trigerred by Naxalites in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.

The troops of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were going to Gatta for duty from Pushtola, about 4 kms from here, around noon when the blast took place killing them on-the- spot, CRPF officials said. Earlier, reports reaching the CRPF headquarters in New Delhi had put the number of dead at 15, they said.

The officials said the exact number of security personnel travelling in the bus was not immediately known and the toll could go up. They said that a helicopter and a reinforcement team have been rushed to-the-spot.

CRPF Chief K Vijay Kumar, who is on a tour of Maharashtra, was in Gadchiroli area after he started from Nagpur this morning, they said, adding that he would be visiting the blast site. The troops belonging to the 192nd battalion of the force were deployed in the area.

According to police in Nagpur, several civilians were also injured in the blast. Preliminary reports received in the office of IG (Operations) Sunil Ramanand said the incident occurred near Pustola village on Karwafa-Fulbodi Gutta road, about 4 km from Gadchiroli, around noon.

Combing operations by the security forces in the area have already begun, they said. "I am gathering information and will make a statement" in the Maharashtra Assembly, Home Minister R R Patil told reporters in Mumbai.