Milind Teltumbde among 26 Maoists killed in 10-hour Gadchiroli encounter
As many as 26 Maoists were killed in an encounter in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, on Saturday. Milind Baburao Teltumbde, a senior functionary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), was reportedly among those killed. This is said to be the longest encounter in Gadchiroli as it went on from 6 am on Saturday till 4 pm. Four security officials were also injured.
- Teltumbde was the special zone secretary for the MMC zone (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh confluence) zone of the CPI(M).
- He carried a reward of Rs. 50 lakh on his head and was wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Pune Police.
- He is accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima caste violence case along with brother Anand Teltumbde, who is undertrial.
Officials said at least 26 Maoists were killed in the encounter at Korchi in the Mardintola forest area. The gunbattle broke out during a C-60 police commando team's search operation, led by additional SP Soumya Munde. Police officers Ravindra Naitam (42), Sarveshwar Atram (34), Maharu Kudmethe (34), and Tikaram Katange (41) suffered injuries, The Indian Express reported. They are now responding well to treatment.
It is believed that Milind recruited 100 locals to join an MMC commando unit called Vistaar Dalam. Senior Maoist leader Pahaad Singh, who had surrendered in 2018, said Milind took all major decisions in the zone. He was reportedly tasked with the creation of a new territory that would allow safe passage for the rebels and a secure base for senior rebels.
According to an October 2020 NIA charge sheet in the Elgar Parishad case, Milind was inspired by his brother Anand to join the Maoist ranks. Milind was allegedly expanding the Naxal movement of Maoists in urban areas with his brother's assistance on an international level. He was charged with criminal conspiracy, waging war against country, and several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Elgar Parishad case pertains to the caste violence that erupted in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018. The police said the violence was fueled by speeches made at the Elgar Parishad event organized in Pune a day before. The event was allegedly organized by banned Naxalite groups. The case made headlines after the arrests of several prominent activists and academicians including Anand Teltumbde.