Maoists have called a bandh in Gadchiroli on May 31 to protest against the killing of five of their women members in various encounters since January. Police sources said a woman Naxal killed in an encounter on May 9 had been given a chance to surrender but she refused. Terming the killings “ruthless”, Srinavasan, spokesperson for the western sub-zonal bureau of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, said in a press note “hired assassins” of the “Hindu, fascist, Brahminical” Modi government had shown “medieval cruelty” to kill the “daredevil revolutionary” women cadres, and called a bandh on May 31.
The five women Naxals killed in different encounters are Rajita Usendi, Minko Naroti, Aarti Pudo, Nirmala Dumma and Sarita Kowasi. “Rajita, member of the divisional committee of CPI (Maoist), had come to Hurrekasa village in Dhanora tehsil along with a colleague after separating from her dalam following an exchange of fire with the police near Mahawada village on May 4. Through their informers, the police came to know of her stay in Hurrekasa. So they came to the village, locked the house where she was staying in but brave Rajita fought on till the last bullet in her AK-47 rifle,” said Srinavasan, adding, “The C-60 commandos then brutally bombed the house and charred Rajita to death.”
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Srinavasan also paid glowing tributes to the “fight” put up by the other “women martyrs”. A man identifying himself as Waghuram Usendi and brother of Rajita told The Indian Express, “The police burnt my sister to death when they could kill her with a bullet. Is it the proper way to do this?”
Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil said, “We have explained it all earlier too. Our men who reached the village on the night of May 9 tried to get her to surrender by sending the villages’ police patil to the house owned by Yamunabai Parse, where she was holed up. She, however, refused to accept the offer. This went on for more than three hours. We could not have stormed the house to catch her alive as she was also firing from her AK-47 rifle. So, finally, our men used the under-barrel gun launcher to lob a shell at the house to kill her.”
“The SDM probe into the incident is on and the truth will prevail,” added Patil.