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Rebels kill seven cops

Nagpur, May 11: A suspected rebel landmine killed seven C-60 anti-Maoist police commandos in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district this morning, marking a reverse for the local police after a year of successes against the guerrillas.

Two other commandos were injured, one critically, in the blast that was not followed by firing, indicating that it was triggered not by an armed squad but by a handful of people or even one person.

The team was patrolling the area, about 250km from Nagpur, in a Tata Sumo when the blast reduced the vehicle to rubble between the Pavimuranda and Murmuri villages in an otherwise calm Chamorshi block, police sources said. The mine had been planted near a culvert on a broken patch of road.

Senior officers were not available for comment immediately. Sources in Gadchiroli police, to which the C60 belongs, said they had built a strong intelligence network in the restive district in the past two years, and that today’s killings marked a rare intelligence failure.

The seven dead have been identified as police constables Sunil Madavi, Rohan Dabande, Subhash Kumre, Duryodan Nagtode, Tirupati Allam, Deepak Vidave and Laxman Munde, the driver. Hemant Bansode, 30, is in a coma following surgery at a private super-specialty hospital in Nagpur.