Gadchiroli (Maharashtra): Two women Maoists, including a senior cadre carrying a reward of Rs 16 lakh on her head, were shot dead in a gunfight with security forces here on Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The two have been identified as Divisional Committee member and Gatta Dalam commander Ramco alias Kamala Manku Narote, 45, the wife of another top-ranking Maoist leader Bhaskar Narote, and 28-year-old Sheila alias Manu Dasru Dhurva.
Both were wanted for a series of serious offences. Sheila had a reward of Rs 4 lakh on her head.
The gunfight broke out after a Maoist group triggered a landmine blast in the thickly forested hills near Koti village in Bhamragad sub-district this afternoon and later opened fire at security forces.
The team of the C-60 commandos were waiting below the hill while the Maoists were stationed at a vantage point above, but managed to open retaliatory fire and swooped onto the rebels' hiding place.
They recovered bodies of Narote and Sheila from the bushes in the post-gunfight combing operations and the casualty figures among the rebels may go up. None among the security personnel were injured.
Official sources said that the Maoists had conspired to ambush and eliminate the troopers advancing towards them by triggering the blast and the subsequent firing.
Officials said that combing operations were carried out in the area since April 22, as a precautionary measure since Maoist groups were distributing literature to mark the first anniversary of the twin gunfight on April 22, 2018 which left 40 insurgents, including 19 women, dead in Gadchiroli.
The officials are investigating whether Ramco and Shiela were involved in the two blasts - on April 10 and election day on April 11 - which left two CRPF officers injured, though polling passed off peacefully on April 11.