A WOMAN Naxal cadre was killed in an encounter in the Gatta area of Pendhri in Gadchiroli on Thursday. Incidentally, it was the first day of the Naxal martyrs’ week.
The encounter ensued when Special Action Group (SAG) and Quick Response Team (QRT) were carrying out an intelligence-based operation in the Bhimpur forest in Gatta around 11.30 am. The two sides exchanged fire but the police maintained an upper hand, forcing the Naxals to retreat, according to a press note issued by Gadchiroli police.
“The body of a woman Naxal, one 12-bore gun, 25 bags and five tents were recovered from the spot,” the press note said. But the identity of the Naxal cadre was yet to be established.
With this, the number of Naxalites killed in encounters this year has gone up to 11, six of them being woman. Even as the Naxals began their annual martyrs’ week on Thursday, the police started a counter-campign called Shanti Melawe (peace camps) for those tribal youths, who had been lured by the Naxals and were registered in police record for helping the movement (alleged sympathisers). “We are providing the youths with training in various skills for four days with free lodging and boarding facilities at nine of our sub-divisional headquarters. This is an opportunity for them to get a reprieve from police action,” said Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh.