A top woman Maoist commander could have been killed in the exchange of fire during the audacious attack in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra on October 8 in which 17 security personnel were gunned down, police said on Wednesday.
The district administration suspect that the rebel killed in the encounter that took place in Laheri, 500 kilometres south of Nagpur, is either South Gadchiroli Divisional Secretary Narmada (52) or her 42-year-old deputy Bimala Chandra Sidam alias Tara akka (akka means sister).
“The villagers have seen the rebels fleeing with the body of a woman,” said an officer working with the district police’s anti-naxal operations wing.
Gadhiroli Additional Superintendent of Police Manoj Sharma told HT the police had received such reports. “We are yet to verify the facts."
If Narmada or Tara akka were killed in the encounter, it’ll be a blow for the Maoists in the region. A college dropout who grew up in Andhra Pradesh, Narmada set up five attack units manned by women, armed with modern weapons and the latest communication gadgets.
Narmada was appointed divisional secretary in 2007 after predecessor Shivanna was killed, allegedly by the police.
Her deputy Tara akka has led several violent attacks. She is the wife of senior Naxal leader M. Venugopal alias Bhupathi, a central committee member.