In an intense gunfight that broke out in the morning in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, at least 26 Naxals have been killed and 3-4 jawans have sustained injuries, police sources said. Notorious and dreaded Naxal operative, Milind Teltumbde, who is also an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, has been killed in the encounter, sources said
He was a wanted accused by the NIA and the Pune police in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima caste riots case.
Teltumbde was a Central committee member of the CPI (Maoist).
Ankit Goyal, Superintendent of Police, Gadhchiroli, confirmed to CNN-News 18 that the encounter has been going on for hours and that the casualties inflicted on the opposite side is a ‘big achievement for the force’. “We have recovered the bodies of 26 naxals so far from the forest,” said Goyal.
An officer on the condition of anonymity said that after the encounter concluded, those who surrendered were made to identify the dead. Milind Teltumbde was identified by some of his colleagues, he said.
The gunbattle took place in the morning at Korchi in Mardintola forest area when a C-60 police commando team was conducting a search operation led by additional SP Soumya Munde, Goyal said. While identity of the slain naxals was yet to be ascertained, according to sources a top rebel leader was suspected to be among them. Four police personnel were also seriously injured in the action and were taken to Nagpur by a helicopter for treatment, officials had said earlier.
The district lies on the border of Chhattisgarh.
In a 10,000-word chargesheet filed last year, the National Investigative Agency detailed the role played by Teltumbde. Milind os the brother of Anand Teltumbde, who was one of the conveners of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan’, an Elgar Parishad event organised on December 31, 2017, and was present at Shaniwar Wada on the day it was organised. Milind was also the secretary of Maoist Maharashtra State Committee.
The chargesheet accused the two of “conspiring with other accused to further the ideology of CPI-Maoist.” They been charged with IPC sections of criminal conspiracy, waging war against country, and sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Milind is said to have carried reward of Rs 50 lakh on his head