New Delhi: At least 26 suspected Maoists were killed Saturday in a 10-hour operation inside the jungles of Gyarapatti, Maharashtra, conducted by the elite C-60 commandos of Gadchiroli police. Four police personnel were injured in the operation.
Police sources said the suspected Maoists killed included Deepak Teltumbde, the younger brother of activist and Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case.
Deepak Teltumbde, the sources said, was a member of the central committee of the CPI (Maoist) and head of its MMC (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) zone.
On the lines of the Greyhounds in Telangana and the Special Operations Group (SOG) in Andhra Pradesh, the C-60 — a team of “crack commandos” — was set up in 1990 to counter Maoist violence in Gadchiroli district. The operation Saturday has been described as the biggest in the history of Gadchiroli, and involved 16 parties of the C-60.
“The operation began at 6.30 am and went on till 4.30 pm. Till now, we have found over 26 bodies of the Maoists. Four of our personnel have been injured in the operation and have been airlifted to Nagpur for treatment,” Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goel told ThePrint.
“Many of the personnel are still stuck inside the area and we are continuously coordinating with them. More details will emerge later in the night,” he added.
The injured policemen have been identified as Ravindra Naitam, Sarveshwar Atram, Maharu Kudmethe and Tikaram Katange, police said. Sources in the force added that more than 16 weapons were recovered by police from the spot.
According to sources, the operation was launched after police received information about members of the CPI (Maoist)’s Gadchiroli divisional committee camping in the Gyarapatti forest. The operation was subsequently planned, and over 500 personnel engaged for it, the sources said.
“We had prior knowledge of the presence of Maoists in the area. Apart from some intelligence inputs, there were also some intercepts that we followed,” said a police source. “Since it is a dense forest, it required meticulous planning. We are still waiting for all our personnel to return safely, following which we will share more details on the operation.”
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)