The death toll in anti-Maoist operations in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli has gone up to at least 32, as forces killed six more Maoists in a fresh gunfight yesterday and recovered another 10 bodies in the area today.
On Sunday, Gadchiroli Police gunned down 16 rebels near Kasnasur village of Tadgaon in Bhamragad.
Forces had launched combing operations in Gadchiroli on Saturday, which is still continuing.
Biggest ever success of Gadchiroli Police's anti-Maoist operations
Sunday's encounter was the biggest ever success of anti-Maoist operations of the Gadchiroli Police, which had launched a search after receiving information about movement of rebels.
It was the first time two members of the CPI(M)'s regional divisional committee (DVC) were killed in one encounter; both were involved in over 75 crimes.
C-60 commandos and CRPF jawans were also involved in the gunfight.
Maoists were surrounded while having breakfast in their 'safe space'
A source said Kasnasur, on the Maharashtra side of River Indravati, is considered a safe space by Maoists.
"Naxals generally rest at such places, so they are able to cross over to the other side immediately upon sensing trouble."
But on Sunday, forces surrounded them from all sides while they were having breakfast.
"This suggests police had solid, pin-point intelligence," the source said.
Not an easy operation for the forces either
Discussing the operations, Deputy IGP Ankush Shinde said, "It's a very far-flung place, where there is no communication. We got the news on satellite phone. Our men are walking all the way from there to Tadgaon, carrying all those bodies."
Huge blow to Maoists, 38 rebels killed this year
With the killing of Sainath and Srinu in Sunday's encounter, forces have managed to eliminate four DVC members in five months- Aitu was killed in December and Sunil Kulmethe earlier this month.
This leaves only one active member of the South Gadchiroli DVC- Raghu. His wife Akhila was among the three women Maoists killed on Sunday.
This year, Gadchiroli Police have neutralized 38 Maoists.