Representational image.

The Maharashtra Police on Friday gunned down 13 Maoists, including seven women, in an encounter in the deep forests near Etapally.

The 90-minute encounter between the Maoists and the crack force of C-60 commandos, which started around 6 am on Friday in the Paydi-Kotmi jungles, may have resulted in at least 4-5 more of the rebels getting injured but they escaped in the jungle.

An official spokesperson for the Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) said that early on Friday, following a tip-off that a group of Maoists was planning to come to the local villages for its regular extortion purposes, a team of C-60 commandos was deployed to carry out combing operation in the forests.

At that time, a gang of around 60-70 heavily armed Maoists opened indiscriminate firing in the direction of the police teams.

The police first made appeals to the rebels to lay down arms and surrender, but they failed to comply and the commandos replied back with firing at the Maoists.

After about 90 minutes, the Maoists escaped in the thick forests ending the dawn encounter after the police extracted a heavy toll on the rebels’ side.

A subsequent search of the vicinity revealed the bodies of 13 Maoists, including 7 women and six men, and they belonged to the dreaded groups active locally.

The police also recovered weapons like AK-47s, SLRs, Carbines, 303 revolvers, 12-bore rifles, and a huge stock of ammunition and explosives, besides articles of daily use from what appeared to be a temporary camp area.

The district police and surroundings are put on alert in other talukas for any retaliatory attacks by the Maoists.

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