Updated: November 14, 2021 7:52:03 am
At least 26 Maoists were killed Saturday in a fierce encounter with security forces in a dense forest in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra police said.
Four policemen were also injured in the encounter and were taken to a Nagpur hospital.
A police officer said 29 weapons had been recovered so far from the encounter site.
Police are trying to verify if top Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde was present at the encounter site. Teltumbde heads the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh zone of the banned CPI (Maoist).
Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal told The Sunday Express: “We have recovered 26 bodies so far. The deceased Maoists will be identified by Sunday morning.”
The injured policemen have been identified as Ravindra Naitam (42), Sarveshwar Atram (34), Maharu Kudmethe (34) and Tikaram Katange (41).
The encounter was one of the longest ever in Gadchiroli — it started around 6 am and went on till 4 pm.
Sources said 16 teams of C-60 commandos, with a total strength of over 500 personnel, participated in the operation which was launched after police learnt of Maoists camping in the forest.
“The group mainly comprised Korchi Dalam members led by Sukhlal, member of the Gadchiroli divisional committee of the CPI (Maoist). But there must have been members of some other formation as well because the encounter was a prolonged one, indicating that there was stiff resistance by the Maoists,” sources said.
The 29 weapons recovered comprise five AK-47, an AK with UBGL attachment, nine SLR, an INSAS, three .303, nine 12 bore and a pistol, an officer said.
With 26 Maoist casualties, Saturday’s encounter was the second biggest in Gadchiroli.
On April 23, 2018, Gadchiroli police gunned down 40 Maoists in two different encounters. While 34 were killed in the Boria-Kasnasur area of Etapalli tehsil, six from the same group were gunned down while on the run in Aheri tehsil.
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