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Attack cannot deter efforts to uproot naxals: Chavan

Feb 02, 2009 10:04 AM IST India India

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Sunday said that the death of 15 policemen in Naxal attacks would not deter the government from combating the naxal menace.

"The attack has come just when we were thinking that there has been a decrease in naxal activity." Chavan said.

"The attack would not deter us and our campaign to root out naxal menace would continue," Chavan added.

Fifteen policemen including a young police sub-inspector were killed by suspected naxals in firing in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district on February 1.

Several other policemen were injured too. The naxals ambushed a police squad in the forest area near Marakegaon in Dhanoira Tehsil.

Police returned fire and in the ensuing gun battle that continued till late Sunday evening, security reinforcement was rushed to the spot.

The reinforcements included 150 police vans carrying over 3,000 additional security persons. However, there have so far been no reports on any naxal being injured or killed.

Police say the naxals fled the scene after the shootout, taking with them eight AK-47 guns, two Insa self loading rifles, four self loading rifles, one pistol and a two inch mortar.

Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil is scheduled to visit the site on Monday, Chavan said.

"We sent a helicopter and an extra team to help our men but by the time they reached it was too late," said Patil.

Immediate financial assistance would be provided to the family members of the 15 martyrs, Chavan reiterated.

(With inputs from PTI)