MUMBAI: Police in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on Friday gunned down 13 Maoists, including seven women, during an operation in the Paydi-Kotmi forest. Maharashtra’s home minister Dilip Walse Patil said an encounter broke out when the police confronted Maoists in Paydi-Kotmi forest in Etapalli, where the insurgents had gathered for a meeting.
On receiving inputs that a group of Maoists had gathered in the area, a team of C-60 commandos, a special combat force of the district police was sent there. “C-60 squads successfully gunned down 13 Naxalites during the operation,” Patil said.
“During this season, the collection of Tendu leaves is typically carried out in Gadchiroli area. The Naxalites collect large sums of ransom from this trade. The C-60 squad had received information about the meeting of the Naxalites in the forest, and accordingly, the team launched a planned search operation,” the home minister said.
During the operation, led by the Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal, the police recovered AK-47s, Self-Loading Rifles, carbines, .303 rifles, 12-bore rifles and explosives. Patil congratulated the police team for the succesful operation. He said he will discuss with Chief Minister the issue of increasing Naxalism on the Chhattisgarh border near Gadchiroli.
“I will soon initiate a discussion with the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh to explore various measures to prevent Naxal problems in the border areas,” the minister said. Patil further told reporters that “Naxals are trying to weaken our democracy. I am proud that police officers are fighting them ably.”