Suspected leftist rebels killed at least 15 security personnel and a civilian driver in an attack on two vehicles in western state of Maharashtra on Wednesday, police said, as the state celebrated its foundation day.
Maharashtra Director General of Police DD Padsalgikar told Al Jazeera that the rebels triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Gadchiroli, that borders Maoist stronghold of Chhattisgarh.
The Maoist rebels, known as Naxals, have killed more than 10 people, including a lawmaker, in Chhattisgarh state amid the multi-phase general elections that will conclude on May 19.
The rebels have battled the state for decades, saying they are fighting for people left out of a long economic boom in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Security forces killed at least 37 Maoist fighters last year in Gadchiroli.
Additional reporting by Alok Putul from neighbouring Chhattisgarh