NAGPUR: The Naxal attack in Maharashtra in which 15 police personnel lost their lives may have been in retaliation for the killing of a Naxal leader's wife in an encounter, an official said Friday.
The policemen and a driver were killed Wednesday after Naxals blew up their vehicle in Gadchiroli district.
The IED blast's impact had left a large crater on the road.
Ramco alias Kamla Manku Narote (46), the "divisional committee member" of Gatta Dalam, killed in an encounter with police in Gadchiroli district on April 27, was the wife of influential Naxal leader Bhaskar Hichkani and was carrying a reward of Rs 16 lakh on her head.
Wednesday's attack by Naxals may have been a response by her husband to her killing, the official said.
The police team which came under the fatal Naxal attack, may have ignored standard operating procedures (SOPs) while planning their movement, the official said.
In the early hours of Wednesday, 27 vehicles were torched by Maoists at Dadapur in jurisdiction of the Purada police station, he said.
Naxals knew a police team would be sent to Purada after the arson incident, the official added.
"It seems the police team did not follow the SOPs," he said, adding in such cases policemen should avoid using private vehicles and instead must go on foot.
The police team should have sensed the danger and avoided taking a private vehicle in a hurry to reach the arson site, the official said.
The policemen, members of the Quick Response Team, were called in as reinforcement from Kurkheda after the CRPF personnel there were shifted out for election duty, he said.
Naxals had information about the movement of the QRT team and planted the IED beneath the road to target the private vehicle ferrying the police personnel, he said.