Security personnel killed 13 Maoist operatives in an encounter in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on Friday, a senior police official said.
A search operation was underway, the official said, and added that the encounter took place in Payadi-Kotami forest area.
C-60 commandos, a specialised anti-Maoist unit of Gadchiroli police, had received information about Maoists gathering in large numbers in the forest area, according to officials.
Acting on the tip-off, C-60 commandos carried out the operation on Friday and gunned down 13 Maoists, who were carrying a reward. Officials suspect that several other Maoists were injured in the encounter.
The encounter comes close on the heels of a similar operation on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border. In that incident in the forests of Dhanora Tahsil, security forces killed two Maoists, including a woman operative.
Speaking about the incident, state Home minister Dilip Walse-Patil said that the naxals had gathered in the area to collect ‘tendu’ leaves for their trade. The C-60 squad had received information regarding their meeting in the forest, after which a search operation was launched, he said.
“In a police-Naxal encounter in Paddy Jungle area of Gadchiroli district, Gadchiroli police force succeeded in killing 13 extremist Naxalites of Kasansur Dal. Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil has praised Gadchiroli police for this remarkable action,” the HMO said in a tweet, adding, “At present, collection of tendu leaves is in full swing in Gadchiroli area. The Naxals collect large sums of ransom from its trade. The C-60 squad had received information that a meeting of Naxalites would be held in the forest. Accordingly, the team launched a search operation in the forest.”
Of the 13 naxalites killed in the encounter, six were male while the rest were females, he added. “A C-60 team led by Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal carried out the operation at the risk of their lives. Rejecting the advice of the police to surrender, the Naxals started firing. In the encounter which lasted for an hour and a half, 6 male and 7 female Naxalites were strangled,” he said in a series of tweets.
गडचिरोली जिल्ह्यातील पैडी जंगल परिसरात झालेल्या पोलीस-नक्षल चकमकीत कसनसुर दलमच्या १३ जहाल नक्षलवाद्यांना कंठस्नान घालण्यात गडचिरोली पोलीस दलास यश आले. या उल्लेखनीय कारवाईबद्दल गृहमंत्री दिलीप वळसे पाटील यांनी गडचिरोली पोलीसांचे कौतुक केले आहे.@SP_GADCHIROLI #Gadchiroli pic.twitter.com/P1obhIJb51
— HMO Maharashtra (@maharashtra_hmo) May 21, 2021
The home minister further said that after discussion with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, it was decided that the state government would work towards prevent Naxals in the border areas. “Also, regarding Naxalism on the Chhattisgarh border near Gadchiroli, Chief Minister Shri. After discussing with Uddhav Thackeray and the Chief Minister of that state, the Home Minister informed that he will discuss various measures to prevent Naxals in the border areas,” he said.