Updated: May 23, 2021 10:29:50 am
AFTER inflicting major damage on Maoists on Friday, when elite C60 commandos of Gadchiroli police killed 13 Maoist cadres in the forests of Kotmi in Etapalli tehsil, the Gadchiroli police headquarters witnessed rapturous scenes, with the commandos being given a rousing welcome, replete with a police band and flowers being showered on them.
While police rejoicing after every successful operation against Maoists is not uncommon, a celebration with a police band and showering of flowers has not been seen in the past. A former senior police officer, who spent years serving in Gadchiroli, said, “I have seen the successful parties celebrating within the four walls with sumptuous meals but this is the first time that a celebration with police band was held amid public glare.”
“What we have always been told by some enlightened ministers and officials in the past is that ordinary cadres are actually innocent cadres waylaid by Maoist ideologues, who instill toxic thoughts in their minds. So, they are not our real enemies. It’s another matter that we have to engage them in battles and kill them due to sheer exigency of the situation. Hence, to celebrate their death is to negate the basic understanding about their peculiar condition,” said the officer.
Another senior retired official said, “Temptations for such celebrations can be understood but we can’t put ourselves on par with Naxals, who are known to indulge in macabre show of victory celebrations whenever they ambush the police. We must maintain our level of dignity and maturity.”
The official revealed that several years ago, victorious police personnel would also pose for photographs with bodies of slain Naxals, a practice that was later strictly prohibited.
Asked about the celebrations, Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said, “This wasn’t the first time that such a celebration has happened. And it was our own police band. It was just an expression of joy, that’s it.”
Goyal had on Friday said that Friday’s success was a tribute to the 15 police personnel who had died in a Naxal blast at Jambhulkheda on May 1, 2019.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Gadchiroli range) Sandip Patil said, “It is necessary to understand the feeling of the commandos. They want to express their feelings. They become emotional and there is no logic to emotions. It is in the fitness of things for us to appreciate their good work.”
Gadchiroli Police’s sense of joy draws mainly from the fact that the most prominent Maoist cadre to die in the encounter, north Gadchiroli divisional committee member of CPI (Maoist) Satish alias Adve Mohanda, was the one who had pushed the button to trigger the blast at Jambhulkheda that had killed 15 policemen in 2019. “We were told by Maoist jan militia from the nearby Lavhari village, during our interrogation then, that Satish was the one who had pushed the button to trigger the blast,” said Patil.
He added, “Over the years, Gadchiroli Police’s concerted efforts and successes have led to virtual decimation of almost the entire senior Naxal leadership in Gadchiroli due to either deaths in encounter, arrests or surrenders. After Satish’s exit, only two senior leaders now remain functional, Prabhakar in north and Giridhar in south Gadchiroli.”
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