The police in the state’s Gadchiroli district — just 50 km away from Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon where Naxalites killed 33 cops on Sunday — are conducting search operations after having received information that the Naxalites behind the massacre may seek refuge across the state border.
The police have identified the jungles near Kekavahi and Savargaon as areas where the Naxalites could be hiding.
“We received information on Sunday night that those who carried out these attacks could cross the border and come to these areas for shelter,” said a senior police officer involved in the operations requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“We have sealed our borders.”
Rajnandgaon’s proximity to Gadchiroli, a Naxal stronghold, has upped the stakes for the state police. Additional Director General of Police (anti-Naxalite operations) Pankaj Gupta said the state police were keeping all its forces deployed along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in anticipation of similar attacks.
“We want to ensure we do not walk into a similar trap,” said Gupta. He said the district police were also combing forests along the border for the suspects.
Maharashtra has seen attacks similar to the one that took place in Chhattisgarh on Sunday. On May 21, 16 policemen, including a senior inspector and five women constables, were killed when their vehicles were ambushed near Dhanora in Gadchiroli; 15 policemen were killed in an attack in Markegaon on February 1.
Both these areas are close to the Chhattisgarh border.