Gadchiroli :- Two days after the Maharashtra Police’s crack teams eliminated 26 Maoists in an encounter here, Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil on Monday congratulated the force for the huge success achieved against the insurgents.
“This is a major achievement, and I congratulate and compliment all the officers and men involved in this daring operation,” Walse-Patil said while interacting with the Special Operations Squad (C-60) Commandos, who led the attack with around 500 men on Saturday.
He said the mega operation will give a fillip to the peace efforts in the Maoist-infested regions and the government can concentrate on the development process.
Among the top officials present were Gadchiroli Range IGP Sandip Patil, Gadchiroli SP Ankit Goyal, Additional SPs Sameer Shaikh, Somay Munde, Anuj Tare, and Vaibhav Rankhamb of C-60 and his commandos.
He said the government is planning to launch some special schemes for the Gadchiroli Police as well as consider the demands of the families of the martyrs who want jobs in the government.
“We must now concentrate on development, employment opportunities for the local people, proper housing, appropriate remunerative prices for the local farmers etc.,” said Walse-Patil.
Realtime intelligence inputs of a major Maoist convention being held in the forests of Mardintola ahead of the upcoming ‘Maoist Week’ had prompted the C-60 team to launch a massive combing operation late on Friday.
Around dawn on Saturday, the force virtually came face-to-face with the estimated 100-strong heavily armed Maoist warriors, and ordered them to surrender, but they retaliated by opening indiscriminate fire at the police personnel.
This triggered a nearly 10-hour-long gun-battle in which the police managed to kill 26 Maoists, including six women, all of them totally carrying a bounty of Rs 1.380 crore, while some 70-odd Maoists managed to flee from the fierce police assault.
Later on Sunday, it was confirmed that among those neutralised was the dreaded and most wanted Maoist leader of the region, Milind Teltumbade (57), who carried a reward of Rs 50 lakh on his head.
The security forces seized a large cache of arms and ammunition comprising 5 AK-47 rifles, one AKM-UBGL, 9 SLRs, one three mm pistols, one INSAS rifle, nine 2.2 single bore-guns, three .303 rifles, besides explosives in huge quantities and other articles of normal use.
The major anti-Maoist achievement notched in Gadchiroli has been lauded by the top leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi partners Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, among others.