5 Maoist killed in an encounter with Gadchiroli Police.

Rifles recovered from Naxals who were killed in Khobra Mendha forest in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district on Friday. (Source: India Today)

On March 29, 5 Maoists including two women killed in an encounter with the police and security forces within the forests of Khobramendha-Hetalkasa, Maharashtra. The police took an action after they received a tip. The operation was set in motion on March 27. A team of police and security forces undertook a combing operation. This resulted in a two-and-a-half-hour gun battle on a hillock facing 60 Maoist cadres.

The encounter began around 6.30 am with six teams of C60 commandos. It was one of the longest encounters the district saw since the start of the Maoist movement. Sandeep Patil and Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal oversaw the operation. The DIGP, Sandip Patil informed that the Maoists escaped into the forest.

Later, the police recovered 3 sterilizer bombs, 303 rifle magazines, live cartridges, electric wires bundles, fire-cracker bombs, solar plats, medicines, and other material.

After Friday’s encounter, they said, the Maoists retreated “but we knew their probable route, so we continued to trace them and eventually traced them on the hillock”. After 48 hours, a brand new team of commandos resumed the search operations. This team then encountered a gaggle of 25 Maoists who opened fire in their direction. Yet, the C-60 commandos managed to knock down five Maoists including two women.

Among the 5 Maoists killed, Bhaskar Hichami, aged 46, member of DKSZC (Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee) got killed with 155 offenses against him including 41 murders, 78 encounters, 16 associated with arson, one dacoity, and 19 other serious offenses. The other four were identified as Sukhdev Naitam (32), deputy commander of Tipagad Local Organisational Squad (LOS) with 14 offenses against his name, Amar Punjam (30) from Jagargunda in Chhattisgarh and a member of Kasansur LOS in Gadchiroli; Sujata, alias Punita Gawde, alias Atram (38) from platoon 15 of CPI (Maoist); and Asmita, alias Sukhlu Pada (28) member of Tipagad LOS.

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