Maoists gun down 18 cops

Maoists gun down 18 cops

Police informer beheaded in Mrashtra

Maoists gun down 18 cops

In a rerun of Taliban-style beheading of a kidnapped Jharkhand police officer near Ranchi early this week, the Maoists severed the head of a ‘police informer’, identified as Suresh Khalani. District collector Atul Patne said Khalani’s severed head was found near his body at Korchi tahsil of Gadchiroli where he was beheaded.

Thursday’s victims were commandos of the special anti-Naxal force C60. Their bodies were still lying at Bhamragarh where the encounter took place, as the helicopters sent to recover them could not land there due to darkness.

At least 15 Maoists were also killed in the encounter that lasted nearly three to four hours, the state police officials here claimed. However, there was no independent confirmation.

The daring attack occurred when a police party of nearly 40 personnel came under heavy fire from 150-200 Maoists around 1:00 pm near Laheri police station, when it was returning after search operations, following an intelligence input that the insurgents had assembled in the area.

The Naxals are believed to have used sophisticated weapons against the police party.
“As many as two platoons of the Border Security Force (50 personnel) and additional police force were rushed to the spot and they managed to save the rest of the policemen caught in the heavy fire,” police sources said.

The reinforcement, too, came under fire while reaching the spot. “Combing operations are under way but the terrain is extremely difficult and heavily forested, which suits the Naxals well. We have sent some relief parties there and they have secured the area,” Superintendent of Police S Jaya Kumar said, adding that efforts were being made to airlift the injured.

We’ll fight back: CM

“It is a war-like situation... we are committed to fighting the Maoists and we won’t be cowed down,” chief minister Ashok Chavan said in Mumbai in his reaction to the attack.
He said the morale of the police force was quite high and the Naxal menace would be crushed at any cost.

The attack took place when the Maharashtra Assembly polls are just five days away. The insurgents have warned politicians not to venture into their areas.