Police kill Maoist couple, another woman rebel in Gadchiroli
Police killed a suspected Maoist rebel couple and a woman colleague on Tuesday in a shootout in Gadchiroli, the insurgency-hit region in Maharashtra bordering Telangana.
According to reports, one of the slain insurgents — Sunil Kulmethe, aged 40 — was a top-ranking leader of the CPI(Maoist) in the Dandakaranya region of central India. His 38-year-old wife, Swarupa, was a senior cadre of the outfit.
Gadchiroli range deputy inspector general of police Ankush Shinde said the shootout at Srikonda forests under Sironcha tahsil, about 400km from Nagpur, happened around 9.30am when a group of rebels fired at a police patrol.
The policemen retaliated and killed three insurgents, while the rest escaped. There are no reports of any death or injury among the security forces engaged in the gun battle. Police have cordoned off the area to nab the rebels on the run.
Shinde said this is the first time a Maoist couple was killed in a gunfight in Gadchiroli. Sunil and Swarupa joined the leftist outfit in 2001. The other woman is yet to be identified.
The three deaths took the number of militants killed in the district this year to seven. On March 30, an extremist was gunned down in the Etapalli area.