Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), April 25 (IANS) The bodies of two more Maoists, including a woman, were found in the Indravati River near Kasnasur in this Maharashtra district, four days after Sunday’s security forces operation, taking the count of the killed ultras to 39, an official said here on Wednesday.
Besides, the search teams have fished out body parts of some Maoists, which were apparently left over by crocodiles and other creatures in the river, and efforts are on to identify them.
Security officials suspect they may have tried to escape the volley of bullets fired by the commandos, or may have been dragged some distance in the forest by their associates before they succumbed to injuries or were abandoned near the river.
As many as 39 Maoists, including 20 women, were gunned down in the twin operations on Sunday morning and Monday evening in Gadchiroli, considered the worst Maoist-affected district in the country.
Meanwhile, from the 39 Maoists killed, the security forces have identified 18 and handed over the bodies of nine to their relatives for the last rites.
Besides the entire district, search efforts, deploying technology and gadgets, continue even in the Indravati River from where 15 bullet-ridden Maoists were fished out on Monday-Tuesday, with the waters teeming with crocodiles, snakes and other dangerous creatures, posing hurdles to the searchers.
The successful operations came after the security forces landed an accurate tip-off well in advance about a proposed jungle meeting of around four dozen Maoists scheduled on Sunday morning and the exact venue – catching the rebels virtually by surprise and little time to hit back.
However, there are conflicting reports of the purpose of the meeting, whether a marriage celebration or to chalk out some major offensive, but officials remain tight-lipped.
The operation – the biggest in the anti-Maoist war since the past over 38 years – saw the elimination of at least four prominent commanders, and dealt a body blow to their rebellious activities in the district.
The prominent leaders eliminated include: south region chief Srikant alias Ravtu Vijendra, 50, known as Srinu, besides the commanders of the Aheri, Gatta and Permili dalams (Maoist fighter units), including a woman chief, a deputy commander and prominent members of various groups.
The dalam commanders have been identified as: Dolesh Madi Atram alias Sainath (Permili), Mangli Pada alias Shantabai, 31, (Aheri), the wife of Srinu (above), Naresh Kutke Yeladi alias Raju/Ramesh, 29, (Gatta), and Vasudevo Bichha Atram alias Nandu, who is the Aheri dalam’s DVC (killed in the Monday night battle).
Police officials surmise that the Aheri and Sironcha dalams have been totally wiped out in the two-day operations which claimed four out of five of their top leaders.
Police have also recovered a cache of sophisticated arms and ammunition, including two AK-47s, two INSAS, three SLRs, three .303s, a 58-mm gun, eight 12 bore rifles, a musket, and detonators, besides Maoist literature from these two operations.