At least 23 policemen have been killed in an attack by suspected Maoist rebels in eastern India, police say.
It happened in Chhattisgarh state, 90km (56 miles) west of Raipur.
Two officers were killed initially, and a larger force sent to the scene was then attacked, police say. The district police chief is among the dead.
The rebels are fighting for communist rule in a number of Indian states. More than 6,000 people have died during the 20-year insurgency.
Speaking from Raipur, the deputy inspector general of police, Pawan Dev, said a total of 23 bodies had been recovered after the attacks in Rajnandgaon district.
The senior officer who died was named by state government officials as VK Choubey, French news agency AFP reported.
The steady rise in sophistication of the attacks by the naxals and the increasing casualties suffered by the security agencies is very worrying.
The logistical reach of their attacks was evident during the elections. The perception gaining ground is that of the police forces as sitting ducks.
A similar number of soldiers killed in Kashmir would become a national scandal, but such incidents have painfully become commonplace in the naxal attacks, without creating a national outrage.
This is all a lack of proper training and tactics by the state forces and a lack of clarity in tackling the naxals at a political level.
The situation now is similar to the situation of the Punjab Police during the initial phase of the Khalistan movement. The "ultras" ran circles around the cops, the cops had low morale and were perceived as potbellied brutes and a lot of the local politicians were in cahoots with the "ultras". Once the state started assigning efficient and motivated officers in tackling them, the tide started to change.
The sad part in my observation is that not a single state is proactive in equipping and training their forces. They seem to wait till a calamity hits their state before doing anything at all.
As an old cliche goes... A wise person learns from the mistakes of others.
Another malady in the Indian system is to blame the Center for all the faults and lack of vision & leadership on the part of state leadership.