In a first, police get proof Maoists use horses, find six from Abujhmad hideout
Maharashtra police find the horses from Maoist hideout in Abujhmad region bordering Chhattisgarh.india Updated: Aug 14, 2017 20:05 IST
For the first time, Maharashtra police have found horses from a Maoist hideout in Abujhmad region bordering Chhattisgarh, confirming their long-held suspicion that rebels use the animals in the rugged terrain.
Gadchiroli police said they recovered six horses from the Maoist hideout after raiding it on Saturday evening. Maoists opened fire on the police team, which retaliated. There were, however, no reports of injuries or deaths in the fire exchange.
“The gun battle lasted for more than three hours. The Maoists fled under the cover of darkness, but could not take away their horses,” said Maheshwar Reddy, additional SP of Gadchiroli’s anti-naxal operation squad. “The fleeing Maoists also left behind three rifles and rebel literature,” he added.
Police said the horses were for the use of senior Maoist leaders such as Mallojula Venugopal aka Bhupati and Kadari Satyanarayan Reddy aka Kosa.
Abhinav Deshmukh, Gadchiroli superintendent of police, said, “These horses were being used by senior members of the banned CPI(Maoist) for movement in the dense forest and hilly areas of Abujhmad.”
Police have suspected for some time that Maoists use horses in Abujhmad, about 400 km from Nagpur, in eastern Maharashtra.
About six years ago, police found pictures indicating the presence of horses at a Maoist training camp in the region. But prior to Saturday, police had never managed to lay their hands on horses used by the rebels.
The six horses are in police custody and will be assessed by veterinarians.
Parts of Gadchiroli district bordering Chhattisgarh and Telangana are known to be Maoist hotbeds. The district police have arrested 43 suspected Maoists and killed five wanted rebels since January this year. At least 16 Maoists have surrendered before the police this year.
Since 1998, about 150 Maoists and 129 police personnel have been killed in Gadchiroli. During this period, Maoists have killed hundreds of villagers after branding them as police informers. This year, the rebels have killed 18 tribals after branding them as police informers.
First Published: Aug 14, 2017 20:05 IST