NEW DELHI,(BSS/Xinhua) – As many as 33 left-wing Naxalite rebels have been killed in two consecutive shootouts with security forces Sunday and Monday in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, police said Tuesday. Both the encounters took place barely 60 km apart in the state’s Gadchiroli district. “Some 16 rebels were killed in the first encounter Sunday while 11 more bodies of Naxalites, killed in that gunbattle, have been recovered during combing operations this morning, taking the toll in the first encounter to 27,” local police chief Abhinav Deshmukh told the media.
In the latest encounter late Monday evening, six left-wing rebels were gunned down by security forces in the dense Rajaram Khandala jungle in Jimlagatta region of the district.
“Four of the six Naxalites killed in this gunbattle were women. This encounter took place as security forces were carrying out combing operations across the district to look for Naxalites active in the district,” the police official said.
Naxalites are currently active in at least seven Indian states, including Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The Naxalite insurgency began in the eastern state of West Bengal in late 1960s, spreading to more than one-third of India’s 600-plus administrative districts.
Though major offensives by security forces in recent years have pushed the rebels back to their forest strongholds and the levels of violence have fallen, hit-and-run attacks are still common, killing hundreds of people, mostly security personnel, every year.