A Naxal was killed in one of the longest encounters in Gadchiroli’s history on the night intervening Saturday and Sunday. Police suspect the deceased Naxal, whose body was found on the encounter spot, as Rajita alias Ramko Usendi, Chatgaon area secretary (CPI Maoist).
The encounter ensued in Hurrekasa village in Chatgaon of Dhanora tehsil around 8 pm on Saturday and continued up to 5 am on Sunday.
“The Naxals hiding in the place opened fire at the police party. The police started retaliating but the encounter continued up to 5 am on Sunday. With the police gaining upper hand, the Naxals took to their heels. Afterwards, the police found the body of a woman Naxal, who appears to be Chatgaon area secretary Rajita alias Ramko Usendi,” stated a police press note.
The suspicion about Rajita being the deceased was due to the fact that an AK-47 rifle, which is possessed only by a commandor-level cadre, was recovered from the spot. The police also recovered a .303 rifle, camera flash, a cartridge, 47 rounds of AK-47, a bag and some other daily-use material.
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“We had inputs about Naxals hiding in the village. So we initially sent a party of 15 personnel for a check. During the search, they found that some Naxals were hiding in a two-storey house. Our men sent messages to the Naxals to surrender but the insurgents were in no mood to give up. So we decided to take the final call and sent additional forces. In the subsequent exchange of fire, the female cadre was killed,” said Gadchiroli SP Sandip Patil.
Asked why the encounter stretched for nine hours, Patil said, “We spent a lot of time to convince the Naxals to give up but they sent back the messengers asking them to mind their own business. After we decided to take on the Naxals, we first cordoned off the village and also evacuated other houses to keep civilians away at a safe distance. All this took many hours. The actual firing did not last for more than 30 minutes.”
With this, four Naxals, all women, have so far been killed in encounters in Gadchiroli this year.