Gadchiroli district bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has been the hot-bed of naxal activities in Maharashtra with the Maoist violence claiming 418 lives in the past three decades.
Also, despite strict measures to control the deep-rooted naxal menace, a total of 169 policemen, including 19 SRPF, 19 CRPF and 3 ITBP personnel were killed by the ultras in different encounters, landmine blasts and ambushes, since the naxal movement began in the district in 1980s, police sources here said.
With the naxal threat looming large among local bodies here, hundreds of elected members have resigned from their posts and none is coming forward to contest polls, police said.
In the last three decades, as many as 418 civilians have lost their lives in the different naxal-related incidents, most of them being murdered brutally by the outlaws, police sources said.
The ultras eliminated people by allegedly branding them as police informers, or called the incidents of landmine blasts and ambush as “mistaken identity”, where they laid the trap for security personnel but instead the civilians got killed.
Presently working on a strength of about five platoon dalams (each dalam consists of 20-25 members), two company dalams and 12 LOS (local operation squads), the ultras have virtually shaken up the administration though the number of police and other security personnel deployed to curb their activities are manifold as compared to their numbers.
While 30 per cent cadres of these dalams are from the adjoining Chhattisgarh state, 10 per cent from Andhra Pradesh and the rest are from Gadchiroli, majority of whom are tribals, police sources said. During the last 31 years of the bloody movement, police killed as many as 105 naxal cadres and apprehended about 250 ‘dalam’ members, sources said.
Also, at least 2,640 of the ultras (belonging to Area Raksha Dal and Gram Raksha Dal) were taken into possession for interrogation and other investigation purposes.
Some years ago, the state government started a surrender policy for the naxals in which about 365 of them came forward and laid down their arms.
Besides, according to police records, 45-50 naxals, including about 30 hardcore ultras, are languishing in jails, while just about six have been convicted by courts in incidents like the Laheri police station attack in early 90s and murders at various places, police said.
Incidentally, the naxals are planning to observe a ‘martyrs week’ from tomorrow in the memory of their counterparts killed and to encourage the local people to join their movement.