Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil’s maiden visit on Friday to Gadchiroli coincided with the killing of 13 Naxals there in an encounter. The skirmish took place around 5.30 AM in the dense forest at Kotmi in Etapalli, where the Naxals had gathered for a meeting, said Sandeep Patil, Deputy Inspector General of Gadchiroli.
“Based on specific inputs, the police party, comprising C-60 commandos, had launched a search operation in the forest,” he said.
Walse-Patil, who met the police personnel, congratulated the C-60 commando and the local police force for its operation on Friday morning. ‘’Home Minister congratulated the team on their act of bravery and grit. He mentioned that he will discuss the issue of increasing Naxalism on the Chhattisgarh border near Gadchiroli with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. In addition, he will soon initiate discussion with the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh to explore various measures to prevent Naxal problems in the border areas,’’ said the Home Minister’s Office in a tweet.
In another tweet HMO said, ‘’C-60 team led by the Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal carried out this operation in which AK-47s, SLRs, carbines, 303, 12 bore rifles and explosives were confiscated.’’
Further, HMO said the C-60 squad had received information about the meeting of the Naxalites in the forest, and accordingly the team launched a planned search operation. During this season the collection of Tendu leaves is typically carried out in Gadchiroli area. The Naxalites collect large sums of ransom from this trade.
Walse-Patil, who also met some villagers during his visit, praised Gadchiroli Police Force for their exceptional and brave action against Naxalites of Kasansur Dalam area today.