Nagpur: A woman Naxal was killed on Monday in an encounter with elite C-60 commandos in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, police said, adding that the number of Maoist fatalities might rise.
As per preliminary information, the gun-battle broke out around 12 noon when a commando team was on an anti-Naxal operation in the Kothami forest in Ettapalli taluka of the district, around 170 km from Nagpur. “One woman ultra was killed in the encounter. The number of deaths on Maoists side might rise as per the information received from the ground,” said an official of Gadchiroli Police. The search operation is still underway in the forest, he added.
Gadchiroli district in east Maharashtra, which was carved out of Chandrapur district in the 1980s, is the most affected by Naxal violence in the State. The incident reminds one of a similar one early this month when a Naxal woman was killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Tuesday morning, police said.
The skirmish had taken place around 6 AM at a forest near Dabbakonta village when a joint team of security forces was out on a counter-insurgency operation. On spotting a Maoist camp in the forest near Dabbakonta village, located around 500 km from the State capital Raipur, the security men started encircling it.
An exchange of fire then broke out between the two sides and the rebels soon escaped into the dense forest. Later, during a search of the encounter spot, the body of a woman Naxal clad in ‘uniform’ and an Insas rifle was recovered, he said, adding that the killed rebel was yet to be identified.
The Maoist footprint in India had been shrinking constantly during the Modi 1.0 years until the change of governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh last year. Sirf News had reported in April last year that as many as 44 districts in the country have been removed from the list of areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) as Maoist influence and violence has shrunk to the 30 worst-hit districts. The leftist terrorists started regrouping when regimes of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh fell.