Four suspected naxalites, two civilians and a police constable were killed and another civilian was grievously injured, in a police-naxalite encounter near Sindeshur jungle under Dhanora tahsil of Gadchiroli, bordering Chhattisgarh, some 250 kms from in Nagpur on Friday afternoon.
According to reports reaching the divisional headquarters in Nagpur, the incident took place when the Danora dalam (squad) of CPI (Maoist) was holding a secret meeting in the jungle.
A group of C-60 police jawans - the elite anti-naxalite squad of the state - reached the spot and challenged the naxalites.
The Maoists opened fire on the security forces that left a police jawan dead on the spot.
The slain policeman was identified as Govind Fadkade (41) from Jairampur village in Gadchiroli district.
The police forces retaliated and gunned down four naxalites, including three women activists. The gun battle continued for half an hour.
"As the policemen were in a sizeable numbers and armed with modern weapons, the naxalites fled the spot. The slain naxalites are yet to be identified," informed Ravindra Kadam, the deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Gadchiroli range.
It is learnt that two civilians from Sindeshur village, identified as - Sukhdeo Gawde and Kalidas Hidke - were killed in the encounter.
It was, however, not immediately known how the civilians were killed in the encounter.
"A combing search operation is still in the forest area. Besides, the Chhattisgarh police were also alerted immediately after the encounter," Kadam said.
The district police claimed that they have recovered one SLR, a country-made gun, some weapons and ammunition and naxalite literature from the spot.
All senior police officials, including the DIG of Gadchiroli range, Kadam and superintendent of police (SP), Mohd. Suvez Haque, have rushed to the spot.
This is second major success for the Gadchiroli police against naxalites in April. Seven naxalites were killed in another encounter on April 4 when the Maoists were holding a meeting near Bhamragarh.
However, parents of one of the suspected naxalites, Sunita Tado (17) claimed that she was not a naxalite and was killed in a fake encounter by the police. Father of Sunita, Prakash, who is from Bhatpar village, also alleged that the body was even not handed to the family after the so-called encounter.
Major naxal violence in Gadchiroli
Seven suspected naxalites were killed in an encounter near Bhatpar under Bhamragarh tahsil in the district on April 4 this year.
The Gadchiroli police gunned down six suspected naxalites, including a divisional committee member and two women activists near Jimalgatta forest in Gaddchiroli district, some 300 kms from Nagpur on January 20, 2013.
12 CRPF jawans were killed in a landmine blast in north Gadchiroli on March 27, 2012.
Six members of a marriage party killed on May 5, 2011 near Kasansur in Bhamragarh tehsil.
Maoists killed 17 policemen on October 8, 2009, near Laheri under Bhamragarh tahsil of south Gadchiroli.
The Maoist rebels killed 16 police persons including five women constables in an attack on May 21 2009 near Tawetola in Dhanora tahsil of north Gadchiroli.