Maoists attack police patrol, torch panchayat office in Maharashtra

Nagpur, Oct 8 ( In two separate incidents, Maoist rebels attacked a police patrol Thursday and set fire to a village panchayat building in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a day after Home Minister P. Chidambaram appealed to them for peace.

According to a police official of Gadchiroli police headquarters, a gang of Maoists Wednesday evening set fire to the Ramgad village panchayat building, burning all records, furniture and fittings there.

On Thursday afternoon, around 1 p.m., a mob of around 150 Maoists attacked a police patrol in the forests, around a kilometre from Lahiri village police station.

Two policemen have sustained minor injuries in the firing that lasted for nearly three hours Thursday.

While the firing stopped over three hours later, security forces have launched combing operations in the forests to weed out the Maoists.

Senior police and civil officials are keeping a close tab on the situation, especially since the incidents came barely five days before the Maharashtra assembly elections Oct 13.

Among the worst-hit by Maoist violence, Gadchiroli district in eastern Maharashtra is situated around 180 km from here and 1,200 km from Mumbai. It borders Adnhra Pradesh, where the Maoist rebels had a stronghold for a long while.