In a major breakthrough, the Gadchiroli police gunned down at least four Maoists in an 'exchange of fire' in the thick forests of Botenphundi village, bordering Chhattisgarh, some 400 kms from Nagpur on Thursday morning.
According to reports reaching Nagpur on Thursday evening, the incident occurred when the Naxalites of CPI (Maoist) were organising a meeting in the forest area of Botenphundi to chalk out their strategy to observe the Republic Day as a "Black Day". Every year Maoists observe Republic Day and Independence Day as "Black Days" in the region and involve in violent activities. A combing party of police commandos came across the outlaws at 9.30 this morning during a search operation.
The Superintendent of Police (SP), Gadchiroli, Shirish Jain, said commandos were in the area for an extensive patrolling in view of possible violence from the extremists on the eve of Republic Day. The policemen had to retaliate with motor bombs and grenades when the Maoists opened fire on them. This had a great impact on the camp of Naxalites of CPI and at least four rebels were killed in the encounter while 10 others were injured. However, police could not find a single body on the spot.
"The commandos have seen that Naxalites carried away two dead bodies from the camp immediately after the encounter," Jain claimed and informed that injured extremists had also succeeded to flee away from the scene.
Huge arms, ammunitions, kitbags and Naxalite literatures were recovered from the site of the encounter, but no policeman was injured in it, he added.
Meanwhile, security has been tightened across the inter-state border, especially in the Bhamragarh region of Gadchiroli district and neighbouring Bastar region of Chhattisgarh where Naxalites are active.
Senior police officials, including the sub-divisional police officer of the area, Lakhmi Gautam are camping at Botenphundi village. The police have intensified their search for Naxalites in the region.