At least six Naxals were reckoned killed during a fierce encounter with security forces at Tadgaon in Gadchiroli district on Sunday. The place where the encounter took place is about 360 km south of Nagpur.
NS Jagtap, spokesperson for the Gadchiroli police told HT that no body had been recovered till late on Sunday evening. But from the blood stains found at the place where the Naxals were holed up during the gun battle, it is assumed that at least six of them were either killed or seriously injured.
“The injured (or dead) are suspected to have been removed by the fleeing Naxal group,” Jagtap said, adding that the combing of the area was in progress to track them down. He said there was no injury on the police side as the information about the waiting Naxal ambush had been received in advance, enabling the police to take proper guard during the encounter.
Jagtap said the encounter took place near the Tadgaon police out-post around 9.30 am when a group of 80 security personnel, including the C-60 commandos and the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans, who have been specially requisitioned for the assembly elections, were patrolling the area.
“The Naxals have called for an election boycott. Our team (security contingent) was out to exhort the villagers to come out and vote without fear,” Jagtap said.
As the contingent was heading towards the Tadgaon police outpost, they were informed about the presence of a strong group of around 50 Naxals waiting to ambush them and accordingly moved cautiously. The Naxals opened fire on sighting the police. The police fired back and the gunbattle continued for about 30-45 minutes, after which the Naxals fled.
The police later recovered a 12-bore rifle, a Claymore mine, eight detonators, two gelatin sticks, bundles of electrical wire (used to trigger mine blasts), and some literature and medicines, Jagtap said.
On Saturday night, a 60-year-old man was gunned down by Naxals as his son had joined the C-60 commando force a year ago. Three days before that, two panchayat offices at Tadgaon were set on fire by Naxals who had killed a police constable and his niece a couple of days back.