At least 37 Maoists were killed by the security forces in two separate encounters, one near Kasnasur village in Tadgaon area on April 22 and the other near Rajaram Khanla village in Aheri tehsil on April 23, in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. Of these casualties, 15 Maoist dead bodies found floating in Indravati river supposedly killed in Kasnasur encounter, were recovered by the Police on April 24.
While the Gadchiroli police have claimed the anti-Maoist operation in Kasnasur as a big successful one, report says, the inspection of the site suggested it had been more an ambush than an encounter.
The Kasnasur spot located on the banks on Indravati was reportedly found strewn with open soap cases, used soaps, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, several half-burnt pouches of “upma”, utensils and so on suggesting that several cadres had been either bathing or engaged in morning ablutions like having breakfast , before they faced firing. One woman’s dead body was found in semi-naked state, suggesting that she might not have been in a position to offer combat. This suggest that the police forces might have chosen ambushing to arrest on April 22.
Among those killed were three divisional committee (DVC) members of CPI (Maoist), 51-year-old Srinu alias Vijendra Ramlu, 34-year-old Sainath alias Domesh Atram and Nandu. Reportedly, the Naxal casualties belonged to Perimili Dalam, Aheri Dalam and Platoon, 7 of CPI (Maoist) party in Maharashtra.
While six Maoists were killed in the Rajaram Khanla encounter, four of them were women, Police officials said.
Satish Mathur, Director General of Maharashtra Police, appealed to the Maoists to surrender after the first encounter took place. “There was pinpointed information pertaining to the meeting organised by the members on Sunday (April 22) near the Kasnasur village in Tadgaon area. Two companies of C-60 men were deployed and our men managed to bag success,” Mathur was quoted as saying. He further said that the split among Naxalites and lucrative government schemes have helped police in getting information on Naxal movement in the state. C-60 companies are mostly comprised of local tribal youth.
With these two operations, Gadchiroli security forces have now killed atleast 62 alleged Maoists since 2017. Along with this, across states – Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Telangana- nearly 43 Maoists were killed during the same period in eight operations.
Earlier this month, Ministry of Home Affairs had categorised 106 districts in ten states as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected. Of the 106 districts, 35 districts which accounted for 80-90 % of country-wide LWE violence were categorized as ‘Most Affected Districts’, MHA stated.