Why was the Maoist leader killed in an encounter?

India Nov 23, 2021

On Saturday, 13th November, 26 rebels were killed in an encounter with the Maharashtra Police at the Gyarapatti-Kotgul forest in north Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. It had been an intelligence-based operation.

Among the 26 rebels killed was Milind Teltumbde who was to blame for Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh- Chhattisgarh zone’s Communist Party of India(Maoist) operation. CPI(Maoist) is a  banned militant and political organization that plans on overthrowing the government with people’s power.

Milind Teltumbde was of Marathi origin, the younger brother of former IIT professor, Dalit intellectual, and writer, Anand Teltumbde. According to the police, two other members of the outfit have also been killed — Mahesh and Lokesh. Mahesh was also known as Shivaji Raoji Gota and Lokesh as Mangu Padyam. They had a bounty of Rs. 16 and 20 lakh respectively, whileTeltumbde himself carried a bounty of Rs. 50 lakh. However, a third senior operative, identified as Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) member Prabhakar, managed to flee even though his bodyguard was killed. Two bodyguards of Teltumbde were also killed.

About 100 Maoists were present at the positioning, when the encounter occurred, 300 C-60 commandos led by Additional SP Somen Munde carried out the operation. 4 policemen were injured during the operation. About 100 bags of ammunition and arms were found at the site of the encounter,  which lasted for 10 grueling hours.

Teltumbde’s bodyguards have been identified as Bhagat Singh Jade and Vimla Boga. Milind Teltumbde was educated in courses relating to Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), after which he worked as a technician in Western Coalfields Limited. From there, he shifted to the All Maharashtra Kamgar union and subsequently adopted the Naxalite ideology in the year 1980.

While Teltumbde’s death is a huge achievement for the Maharashtra Police, we must keep in mind that  Naxalism is not a problem we have completely overcome yet. CPI(MAOIST)is an organization that started in 2004 and the fact that despite world-class intelligence systems and special forces, we are still not able to end Naxalism shows how powerful an ideology can get if propagated through the right means. The Naxal ideology itself might be right in a few ways and wrong in most others, but the strength of these people is still commendable. The 64 offenses that  Teltumbde had been accused of is something he should be punished for, but the truth behind these offenses, how they occurred, and why Naxalites were forced to choose violence is little known to us.

The article was written by Shagufa Bava for Paradigm

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