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Maharashtra Police kill 4 Telangana Maoists in jungle encounter

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Shillong, March 19: In a major intelligence-based operation, Maharashtra security forces gunned down at least four Maoists, who sneaked in from Telangana and carried varying rewards totalling Rs 36 lakhs on their heads, in a fierce jungle shoot-out in Gadchiroli district early on Tuesday, police officials said.

Following a tip-off that a large group of Maoists from a neighbouring state had entered the state with nefarious motives, the security forces launched a massive combing operation in the Kolamarka hills of Repanpalli division last night.

Teams of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) Range Quick Action Team and the elite C-60 Commandos of Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO), were involved in the dangerous forest operation.

Suddenly, the Maoists hiding in the jungle started shooting indiscriminately at the RQAT and C-60 teams which also returned fire in self-defence.

After the encounter stopped, the commandos led by Additional Superintendent of Police, Operations, Yatish Deshmukh, searched the vicinity and came across the bodies of four dreaded Maoists.

They have been identified as Vargeesh, Secretary of Mangi Indravelli Area, Magtu, Secretary of Sirpur Chennur Area Committee, and two Platoon members Kursang Raju and Kudimetta Venkatesh, according to officials. They were collectively carrying a reward of Rs 36 lakh on their heads announced by Maharashtra.

The police teams also recovered arms like an AK-47, a carbine, 2 country-made pistols, ammunition, Maoist literature and personal belongings of the deceased Maoists.

Officials suspect that the Maoists had slipped into Maharashtra via the Pranhita River from Telangana to Gadchiroli to carry out violence or disruptive activities ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections scheduled on April 19.

The official notification for five seats in the Vidarbha region – Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST), Ramtek (SC), Chandrapur, Bhandara-Gondiya and Nagpur – is set to be issued on Wednesday, and many of them are plagued by Maoist activities of different intensities.

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the outlawed outfit was allegedly hatching plans for targeted attacks and other subversive activities in the Maoist-infested areas of central area spread across Maharashtra, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh. (IANS)

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