Six Naxals, including two women cadres, were killed in an encounter in the wee hours of today near here in eastern Maharashtra, police said. The exchange of fire took place in the forests near Govindgaon village in Aheri taluka of the district, about 200km from Nagpur, in south eastern Vidarbha.
A police team was on a routine anti-Naxal operation in the jungles of Govindgaon on Saturday night when they were fired upon by the rebels. The patrolling party returned fire and in the ensuing gunfight at least six Maoists, including two women, were killed in an encounter lasting a few hours (it ended at around 2.30am), police said.
While identifying the slain Naxals as Shankar Jalku Lakda (43), a member of south Gadchiroli divisional committee, Vinod Chandrayya Kodape (30), commander of Aheri dalam, Vinod's wife Geeta Usendi (28), Mohan Kowase (25), Zuru Mattami (20) and Sunita Kodape (18), district superintendent of police Mohd Suvez Haque said all the bodies have been brought to Aheri police headquarters in Nagpur.
The SP said Shankar Lakda was involved in 59 cases of Naxal violence, Vinod in 20 and Geeta in 13. Police also seized two SLR rifles, two .303 rifles, ammunition and Naxal literature. Except Mohan, who hailed from from Morkhandi in Pakhanjur tehsil of neighbouring Chhattisgarh, others were from Gadchiroli, the SP said.
This is the first time that so many Naxals have been killed in Gadchiroli, the district worst affected by Left-wing extremism in the state.