Team behind Gadchiroli anti-Maoist ops was trained by Andhra’s Greyhounds
The men of this wing were trained in various aspects of guerrilla warfare by reputed training institutes such as the School of Jungle Warfare.india Updated: Apr 24, 2018 23:11 IST
The heroes of the successful anti-Maoist operation in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on Sunday and Monday, in which a total of 37 insurgents were killed, are commandos of the C-60, an elite anti-Maoist squad of the local police.
District police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers deployed in the district were usually unable to speak the local Gondi and Madia languages and were unfamiliar with topography. This resulted in some of them getting trapped in the dense forests and falling victim to armed rebels, police officers said.
In 1992, the then superintendent of police of the district, KP Raghuvanshi, set up the C-60 by recruiting locals familiar with the topography of the area and who could speak the Gondi, Halbi and Madia languages of the local tribespeople.
In 1994, another C-60 team was created, this one specially for south Gadchiroli. Each C-60 squad consists of 60 commandos and a police inspector.
The men of this wing were trained in various aspects of guerrilla warfare by reputed training institutes such as the School of Jungle Warfare. They were also trained by the Andhra Greyhounds, one of the most fearsome anti-Maoist fighting forces in the country.
The Rela-Kasnasur jungle, a dense forest region where the operation took place, is around 15km from Tadgaon, the forest range headquarters and hardly 12km from Hemalkasa, the ashram of Prakash Amte, who runs a charitable hospital for tribals. Bhamragarh, the biggest village of the area, is around 15km from the jungle.
The Indravati river is around half a km from the jungle. The river divides Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. The famous Indravati tiger sanctuary begins from the river on the Chattisgarh side.
Tapan Mukherjee, a former sub-divisional forest officer, who worked as a ranger in Tadgaon, said it is quite common for Maoists to cross the river.
“It is very difficult for any forest personnel to work there smoothly as any action against forest smugglers or poachers would jeopardise the life of forest personnel, thanks to the clout of Maoists in the area,” he said.