The police on Thursday said no poison has been found in the bodies of the 18 alleged Maoists recovered from Indravati river following a police operation in Gadchiroli district on April 23, in which 34 people were killed. “We have received the viscera reports, which have clearly established that there was no trace of any poison in the bodies,” said SP Abhinav Deshmukh. The tests were conducted at Nagpur’s government forensic laboratory.
“We had sent the viscera samples of only 18 bodies recovered from the river since in other cases, the cause of death was confirmed by the doctors who had performed the postmortem examinations. They had all sustained firearm injuries,” he added.
A total of 40 people had died in the two operations by the Gadchiroli police on April 23 and April 24. While the first operation near Kasnasur had resulted in 34 deaths of alleged Maoists, the second at Nainar had lead to six deaths. While all six Nainar deceased had sustained firearm injuries, 16 had died in Kasnasur from firearm injuries, four due to firearm injuries as well as drowning and 13 only due to drowning. In one case, the cause of death couldn’t be ascertained.
Maoist organisations had alleged that the deceased were poisoned through food. This had led to the police preserving viscera of those who had drowned. Meanwhile, the police had recovered several materials from the Kasnasur and Nainar operation spots. These included 32 memory cards found on the body of Naxal leader Srini killed at Nainar.
“We have also recovered several diaries containing names of members of the People’s Revolutionary Council, the village-level body of the CPI (Maoist)… it names villagers providing logistic support to the Naxals. We have got names of members from about 25 villages in the Perimili area… They include the names of the eight Gattepalli villagers, who were supposed to have been killed in the Kasnasur operation,” Deshmukh said.
The eight villagers had left Gattepalli a day before the first operation and haven’t returned since. With one of those killed from Kasnasur in the police operations being identified as their daughter by a couple, it was speculated that the remaining seven may also have died.