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After a sudden spurt in Naxal violence over the past 10 days, the Gadchiroli police Wednesday struck back killing seven Naxalites in an encounter near Jhinganur village in Sironcha tahsil. “In an intelligence-based operation, our C-60 commando party took on a group of Naxals near Jhinganur village killing seven Naxals, whose bodies too have been recovered,” Special Inspector General of Police (Anti-Naxal Operations) Sharad Shelar told The Indian Express.
The police, on getting information about a group of Naxals hiding in the forest, launched an operation on Tuesday night to track them down. Between 6 and 7 am Wednesday, the police located the Naxals, leading to the encounter. Wednesday’s toll equals the number of Naxalites killed in Bethkathi encounter in Korchi tahsil in 2012.
Of the seven killed on Wednesday, five were women cadres. “Six of them were identified as Aheri dalam commander Aitu alias Ashok Kangapendam, 38, Sironcha dalam member Sarita, Sironcha area committee member Chandu, Akhila Kulmethe, Sunita Kodape and Shaila,” a Gadchiroli police press note said, adding, “the seventh Naxalite, a woman cadre, is yet to be identified.”
The police recovered two SLRs, two 8mm rifles, two 12-bore rifles, one 12-bore katta, six explosives and a lot of other Naxal material from the spot.
Naxals had been creating trouble for the police over the past 10 days, killing five civilians and two policemen and injuring five others in different parts of the district. Senior police officials including Additional Director General of Police (Special Operations) D Kanakratnam, Shelar and DIG (Gadchiroli range) Ankush Shinde had been camping in Gadchiroli planning and supervising intense combing operations to counter the Naxals. The Naxals are observing the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army Week from December 2-8. “Today’s is one of the biggest successes for the police in Gadchiroli’s history,” Shelar said.
In other encounters this year, the police have gunned down nine Naxalites including six women. With Wednesday’s incident, the total Naxals killed this year has gone up to 16.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday called Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to discuss the Naxal operations in Gadchiroli, where seven Naxalities were killed in an encounter. Both Singh and Fadnavis also conveyed their appreciation on the successful operation to the Maharashtra DGP over telephone, and congratulated the IG (ANO) and SP, Gadchiroli for excellent coordination by C-60 commandos in Sironcha taluka of Gadchiroli where the seven Naxalities were killed. Earlier, the government had announced rewards on them.