Top Maoist cadres among five killed in Gadchiroli encounter

Bhaskar Hichami, 46, with 155 offences against him, including 41 murders and 78 encounters, was among the five Maoists neutralized in a fierce gun-battle with the Crack-60 commandos in the Khobramenda forest of Gadchiroli district in eastern Maharashtra on Monday. He carried a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head.

An AK 47, a 303 rifle, an 8 mm, 12 bore rifle, detonators and a laptop were among the materials seized. Apart from the five killed, two bodies of their colleagues were dragged away by the Maoists from the place.

Hichami, secretary of the Maoists’ North Gadchiroli division and a Dandakaranya special zonal committee member, was the mastermind behind the Jambhulkheda blast in 2019 in which 15 police personnel and one civilian were killed. It is learnt that Hichami was upset over his wife Ramko’s questionable encounter death and had planned the Jambhulkheda blast and Dadapur arson as revenge. Prior to the blast, the Naxals under Hichami had torched more than 30 vehicles in Dadapur village. Hichami’s bodyguard Asmita Pada too was killed. Pada was part of the Tipagarh Local Organization Squad.

Another senior Maoist cadre, Sukhdeo Neitam, deputy commander of Tipagarh LOS, was among the five gunned down. He too had five murder cases against him. The other two Maoist casualties were Amar Kunjam of Kasnasur LOS and Sujata Atram of Platoon 15. Sujata too had 31 offences against her, including 11 murders.

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