Dozens of Maoist rebels killed in jungle raids in India

Maharashtra: 4 Naxals killed in a fresh encounter in Gadchiroli

Among the dead were seven women Maoists.

Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), April 24 (IANS) As many as 19 women, including a commander, are among 37 Maoists gunned down in two pitched battles by the Maharashtra Police in the forests of the state's Gadchiroli in the past 48 hours, eliminating at least four top commanders and virtually shattering the backbone of the rebels, a top police official said here on Tuesday evening.

The Kasnasur spot located on the banks on Indravati was reportedly found strewn with open soap cases, used soaps, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, several half-burnt pouches of "upma", utensils and so on suggesting that several cadres had been either bathing or engaged in morning ablutions like having breakfast, before they faced firing.

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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. Twelve of the 16 Maoists have been identified so far, The Hindu reported.

Police officials surmise that the Aheri and Sironcha dalams have been totally wiped out in the two-day operations which claimed four out of five of their top leaders. "Two companies of C-60 men were deployed and our men managed to bag success", Mathur was quoted as saying. Out of 16, 12 bodies are identified including senior Naxal commanders Sinu and Sainath. C-60 companies are mostly comprised of local tribal youth. Forces had launched combing operations in Gadchiroli on Saturday, which is still continuing.

Engaged in a grinding insurgency across India's interior for the past few decades, the Naxalites have counted on funding from communist groups at home and overseas, and their strength runs into tens of thousands, with factions operating in most of India's states. Of the 106 districts, 35 districts which accounted for 80-90 % of country-wide LWE violence were categorized as "Most Affected Districts", MHA stated.

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