Two more bodies of Naxals, who were killed in an encounter with C-60 squad of commandos of the Maharashtra Police, have been recovered from Indravati River, taking the total number of casualties of Naxals in the Gadchiroli encounter to 39.
The operation in Rale-Kasnasur forest was carried out by C-60 commandos of Gadchiroli police and Battalion 9 of the CRPF and seems to have taken a heavy toll on the CPI (Maoist).
The bodies, which were bloated and have started to decompose, were found floating on the banks of river which flows along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh borders, reports IANS.
The encounter on Monday comes a day after what Maharashtra Police said was the biggest-ever success in its anti-Maoist operations. While announcing the encounter on Sunday, senior police officers had on said that the deceased included some high-ranking Naxals.
On receipt of specific information through local intelligence that naxals have camped in Tadgaon forest near Bhamragad tehsil, two specialised troops of anti-Naxal squad C-60 swooped down in the area and engaged naxals in a gun battle on Sunday morning.
The encounter broke out at Kasansur forest in Bhamragad between the ultras and a joint team of security forces comprising C60 commandos, a specialised combat unit of the Gadchiroli police, and personnel of the 9th Battalion of the CRPF, around 10 am on Sunday.
It lasted for 90 minutes, DIG (Gadchiroli) Ankush Shinde said.
Gadchiroli Police, in a press release, mentioned the names of some slain naxals, including Shrinu alias Shrikanth (51), a native of Challgari in Telangana, who was deputy commander.
Another deceased ultra was identified as Deepa alias Aamsubai, a native of Adilabad, who was involved in 82 cases of serious nature.
Sainath alias Dolesh Madhi Atram, a resident of Gattepalli in Gadchiroli, who was a division committee member and Permili in charge was also among those killed, it said.
Director General of Police (DGP) Satish Mathur on Monday said that split among naxals and lucrative government schemes helped police in getting concrete information against naxals active in Maharashtra
In the past five years alone, 605 naxals surrendered before the police while as many as 53 naxals were gunned down in police encounters, he said.
Mathur said that security forces seized AK 47, SLR, 12 bore rifles from dead Naxals.
He clarified that since the deceased naxals were operating under the Dandakaranya scheme, no direct linkage of them with urban naxalism has surfaced as of now.
(with PTI inputs)