Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Naxals strike again in Nagpur

5 Dec 2007, 0403 hrs IST,TNN

NAGPUR: A third Naxal-related incident took place in a row in Gadchiroli district on Monday evening, since the people liberation guerrilla army (PLGA) week began on December 2.

On Monday evening, an encounter took place at a place called Katta in Etapalli tehsil. Police claim three to four Naxals have been killed in this encounter, though the bodies could not be recovered.

The incidents began on Saturday with the Naxals blowing up a cell-phone tower of a private company. This was followed by an encounter over Bandiya bridge in which two Naxals were said to be injured in the gunbattle a day later.

The Monday evening encounter is the third incident in a row. “This was a tough operation for the police party as the Naxals were in larger numbers. A strategic position helped the cops,” said a source. The police have recovered a single-barrel gun, and two blasts of 15-20 kg each, said the source. Although the bodies could not be recovered, the blood stains are indicative of the toll, say cops.

In fact, the Naxals ensure that the bodies are not retrieved by the police as once the toll on their side is publicised, it would bring down the morale of their rank and file. Once their fellow falls to bullets, others open a heavy fire preventing the cops from approaching the body, and the dead are carried away under heavy cover fire, said a senior officer. A few bodies have been recovered during encounters in the year, said a source.

In fact, each year encounters with Naxalites go up during October to February while their activities are at an ebb during monsoons and summers. Movements are hampered due to slushy terrain and overflowing of rivers during rains. In summers when green cover dries up, they avoid encounters as a clean ground provides easy visibility to the police. This year around 4-5 encounters have taken place since October. Moreover, the police have also beefed up the security and have increased their movements in order to flush out the Naxals from their hideouts.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident Naxalites burnt two tractors of a private contractor Maksood Ahmed, engaged in construction of a road near Bakrundi village in Kurkheda tehsil of Gadchiroli during wee hours of Monday night.

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