Twelve succumbed to bullet injuries, four were shot but died due to drowning and four drowned. These are the findings contained in the post-mortem reports of 20 of the 40 suspected Maoists killed in two encounters over two consecutive days by police and commandos in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli two weeks ago. The reports for 15 women and five men, written and signed by seven doctors at the civil hospital, reveal that most suffered multiple bullet injuries, causing ruptures in critical parts such as lungs, heart and head. All 20 were wearing green shirts and trousers, they say.
The post-mortems include six of those killed in an encounter near Naintar village in Aheri tehsil on April 23, and 14 from around the Indravati river near Kasnasur village in Bhamragad tehsil the previous day when 34 suspected Maoists were killed in an ambush by Elite C-60 commandos. “The remaining 20 post-mortem reports will be ready within the next two days,” an official said.
The completed reports show fractures in ribs, femur, scapula, skull and other bones in almost all cases of bullet injuries, with the cause of death described as “multiple firearm injuries with massive haemorrhage leading to multiple organ failures”.
Some of the bodies of those who drowned were found with missing limbs, with doctors suspecting that they may have been eaten by crocodiles.
The other findings in the reports are:
– The number of bullet injuries ranged between one and 10.
– Two unidentified persons who drowned were found to have suffered one bullet injury each, one on the leg and the other on the head. “They may have been shot and then either fallen into the river or jumped in,” an official said.
– The maximum of 10 bullet injuries were suffered by a suspected Maoist identified as 30-year-old Nagesh Narote.
– The reports also illustrate the spots where bullet wounds were found. “The number of bullet injuries does not necessarily mean the number of bullets hitting the person. One bullet can cause two injuries, like the entry and exit wounds,” another official said.
Officials said that in the case of Sainath, believed to have been one of the top three Maoists caught in the ambush, the cause of death was “firearm injuries with multiple organ failure and massive haemorrhage”. He had received six bullet injuries, three each in the front of the body and the back.
Police have identified 11 of the 20 whose post-mortem reports were completed: Sainath alias Domesh Madi Atram, 35; Rajesh alias Dama Raisu Naroti, 35; Suman alias Janni Kudiyeti, 35; Nagesh alias Dulsa Kanna Narote, 30; Shantabai Mangli Pada, 25; Anita Ramji Madavi, 24; Nandu alias Vikram Bichcha Atram, 40; Lata Wadde, 23; Kranti 25; Kartik Uikey, 32; and, Jaishila Gawde, 30.
On Wednesday, police cremated 20 unclaimed, unidentified and highly decomposed bodies, including those of 15 women, near the Katani river a few kilometres from Gadchiroli.
“Of these, 17 were recovered from the Indravati river in the three days after the operation on Sunday. They were in a highly decomposed state and couldn’t have been retained further in the mortuaries, which don’t get uninterrupted power supply. Also, hospital authorities wanted the bodies removed,” said Gadchiroli SP Abhinav Deshmukh.
He said 14 bodies have so far been handed over to families of those killed. “Six are still in the mortuary. Since five of them have been identified, there is a chance that these bodies will be claimed,” Deshmukh said.
The Indian Express reported Friday statements by residents of Gattepalli in Gadchiroli that eight of those killed were from the village and left together with their bags around 7 pm on April 21 to attend a wedding in Kasnasur.