Updated: November 15, 2021 1:21:47 am
MILIND TELTUMBDE, a Central Committee member of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, was among the 26 Maoists killed in Saturday’s encounter with security personnel in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a senior police officer said.
Teltumbde, 58, was in charge of the Maoist outfit’s Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC) zone, police said. He was also the younger brother of former IIT professor, Dalit intellectual and writer, Anand Teltumbde, who has been jailed in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
According to police, two other key members of the outfit were also killed in the encounter. They have been identified as Mahesh alias Shivaji Raoji Gota, a resident of Renadigutta village of Etapalli tehsil of Gadchiroli and Lokesh alias Mangu Podyam, a resident of Jagargunda village in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada.
Both were members of the Gadchiroli divisional committee of CPI (Maoist), police said. Gota belonged to the Kasansur dalam and carried a reward of Rs 16 lakh for his capture while Podyam was a company commander and carried a reward of Rs 20 lakh, police said.
However, a third senior operative, identified as Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) member Prabhakar, managed to escape even as his bodyguard was killed, police said. Two bodyguards of Teltumbde were also killed.
Top Maoist Milind Teltumbde one of 26 killed in Gadchiroli: Police
“Surrendered Naxalites have identified one of the bodies as that of Teltumbde,” Gadchiroli SP Ankit Goyal told The Indian Express.
Goyal said about 100 Maoists were present at the site when the encounter took place, and that 300 C-60 commandos led by Additional SP Somen Munde carried out the operation. The four policemen injured in the encounter are in “stable” condition and “out of danger”, said Additional SP Sameer Sheikh.
Apart from arms and ammunition, “about 100 bags were recovered from the spot” in the Gyarapatti-Kotgul forest in north Gadchiroli, police sources said. “The encounter lasted for over ten hours and was one of the biggest and longest in Gadchiroli’s history,” the sources said.
Among the Maoists killed were six women. Four of them, and six of the men killed, have not yet been identified. “They are believed to have hailed from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and hence couldn’t be identified by local Naxalites who had surrendered earlier,” sources said.
Apart from members of the Korchi dalam, the Maoist group also has members of Company 4, headed by Podyam, and those of Kasansur dalam and Tipagad dalam.
The Gadchiroli police were focusing on Company 4 for some time now because it had inflicted severe damage on their forces in 2009 and 2019. “In 2009, Company 4 killed 31 policemen in two ambushes in north Gadchiroli. In 2019, they killed 15 policemen in a landmine blast. We were determined to break their back, which we were able to do on Saturday,” said DIG (Gadchiroli range) Sandip Patil.
“It was an intelligence-based operation. We had information about the gathering. Our men faced gunfire initially but retaliated successfully with minimal damage,” SP Goyal said.
Teltumbde’s bodyguards, who were killed, have been identified as Bhagat Singh Jade and Vimla Boga. Prabhakar’s slain aide has been identified as Lachhu.
The other slain Maoists who have been identified are: Bandu alias Daslu Gota, Pramod alias Dalpat Kachlami, Kosa alias Musakhi (Bastar, Chhattisgarh), Nero (Abujhmad, Chhattisgarh), Chetan Pada (Bastar), Kishan alias Jaiman (Darbha, Chhattisgarh), Sannu alias Kowachi (Bastar), Prakash alias Sadhu Boga and Navluram alias Dilip Tulavi.
According to police, Kishan from Chhattisgarh was the commander of Korchi dalam while Sannu from Bastar was the commander of Kasansur dalam — both carried a reward of Rs 8 lakh each for their capture.
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