Top Naxal woman cadre killed in 10-hr operation
Nagpur: Rajitha, Chatgaon area committee secretary, who had a reward of Rs16 lakh on her head, was killed in an encounter that stretched over 10 hours at Hurrekasa village in Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli on Tuesday. The C-60 commando party taking part in the action had to practice restraint in firing to ensure there was no collateral damage during the incident inside a hamlet. The deceased woman cadre, whose half-burnt body was recovered after the 10-hour-long operation, opted to die rather than surrender. The incident mirrored the case of former Chatgaon dalam commander Raneeta Hichami, alias Ramco, in August 2011. She too had single-handedly held back a formidable force for almost a day, refusing repeated offers to surrender. She had gone down fighting despite several bullet injuries at Makadchuha, ensuring that the rest of the dalam was able to escape safely.
In the latest action too, the security forces relentlessly tried to get Rajitha to surrender. The family which had sheltered her was also sent a message to ask her to surrender, but she drove them away. The local police warden too failed to convince her.On the contrary, Rajitha opened a burst of fire from her AK-47 assault rifle on an officer who tried to sneak into the house through a window. The officer miraculously survived without serious injury. She had kept the security forces at bay with intermittent firing, forcing the personnel to rework their strategy. Finally, the end came about with an under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL), which blew up the house where the Naxal cadre was holed up alone, after two of her body guards had fled in the dark.
Rajitha was earlier heading the Kasansoor Dalam. Police have recovered Rajitha’s AK-47 assault rifle and one .303 rifle along with two rucksacks. It’s learnt that Rajitha had come to the house, where she was killed, a couple of days ago, after fleeing the spot of Mahawada encounter, which was around 4km away.Superintendent of police, Gadchiroli, Sandip Patil said security forces were already conducting searches in villages around Mahawada encounter spot, knowing that the fleeing Naxals would be holed up in adjoining villages. “We were informed that two or three Naxals were sheltered at Hurrekasa village. On Sunday, a squad of C-60 party had reached the place,” he said. “One of the Naxals had fled earlier, but we learnt that two more were sheltered in the house of a supporter. We immediately cordoned off the place, even though it was getting dark,” said Patil. “Police had given ample time and opportunity to the Naxals to lay down arms but they kept on challenging us. They kept on engaging the force with wait-and-watch tactics. We too had to go slow since there were villagers around the house,” he said. Patil said they came to know that Rajitha’s bodyguard, identified as Rahul, managed to flee the place before the encounter.