In a major development, at least 26 Maoists were killed during a fierce encounter with Maharashtra Police in the deep forests near Dhanora in Gadchiroli district, Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said.
“Around 26 Naxals have been eliminated in the encounter at multiple locations by several security forces in the region. Three security personnel have also been injured in the cross-firing. They have been airlifted by helicopter to Nagpur and admitted for treatment at a local hospital,” Goyal said.
The gun-battle which started in the early hours of Saturday in the dense forest of Kolgut-Dandat was continuing till evening with at least 26 fatalities notched among the Maoists, while three security personnel were also hurt, Goyal said.
As per initial reports received at the Gadchiroli district headquarters, the encounter was with a Dalam of the banned CPI(Maoist) and commandos of the crack C-60 unit of the Anti Naxal Operations.
Now, a massive combing operation has also been undertaken to detect more bodies of the slain extremists with a possibility of the death toll likely to go up in this remote region on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh.
Though the exact identity of the Maoists killed in Saturday’s operations is yet to be established, there is a speculation that a prominent leader of an outlawed organisation is among the slain. Goyal, however, declined to comment.
Following a tip-off on Friday that some Maoists were expected to gather and plan out some activities in the region, the security forces launched search and combing operations.
Soon, they came virtually face-to-face with the extremists leading to the fierce jungle gun-battle which continued till Saturday evening.
The latest operation is the biggest success recorded for the security forces who effected a huge toll on the Maoists, the highest in the past 3-4 years.