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Encounters, arson mark bandh called by Naxalites

MUMBAI: Twin encounters with security officials at Gadchiroli and another incident of Maoists trying to burn records inside a panchayat office, marked the bandh called by Naxalites in Maharashtra on Tuesday. However, no casualties were reported.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) had called the bandh across Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur to protest against the death of their 22 comrades, killed in police encounters in the state last year.

In another major breakthrough, four top Maoist guerrillas surrendered on Sunday, taking the total number of extremists, who have given up their arms, to 146.

Intelligence inputs had warned that the Left-wing extremists could trigger large-scale violence using automatic rifles, imported pistols and even mortars against the police and paramilitary forces.

"We were on maximum alert to ensure that the bandh was observed peacefully. It was significant since four Maoist extremists have surrendered in the past two days," special inspector general of police (anti-Naxalite operations) Pankaj Gupta told DNA.

The Maoists said the bandh was called to protest against the alleged fake encounters against their comrades. They further incriminated the police saying the latter never bothered to check the antecedents of those killed.

But according to a senior security official, all those who were killed in the encounters were hardcore Naxalites. "Before we launched the attacks, we checked details of each one of them. In some cases, offensive literature and weapons were seized from the victims," he added on condition of anonymity.

DNA - India

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posted by Resistance 4/15/2007 09:15:00 AM,


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