Maharashtra police was reportedly keeping a close watch on a wanted Maoist commander in Pune, Maharashtra, where the latter is being treated in Sasoon hospital. According to the reports, Maoist commander Santosh Shelar alias Painter is being watched by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) after the ATS team traced him receiving treatment in a hospital in Pune district.
A member of the banned CPI Maoist, Santosh is considered a seasoned Maoist who had assumed many roles in the proscribed Maoist outfit in the past as well. Santosh is also believed to have worked as a bodyguard of infamous Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde, who was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in 2021. Santosh was reported to have been active on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh interstate border for more than a decade.
During his tenure as a commander, Santosh was believed to be a part of many encounters that occurred between the security forces and the extremists in the remote bordering regions of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. His name was also in the top list of Maoist commanders prepared by the Chhattisgarh police a few years ago. He was reported to be working as an area commander on the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border until recently.
According to the details, Santosh initially indulged in the activities of Kabir Kala Manch, an outfit believed to be an offshoot of the Maoist organisation, before disappearing in the year 2010. It is to be noted that a few other members affiliated with the Kabir Kala Manch are already in the custody of the National Investigation Agency in connection with the infamous Elgar Parishad CPI Maoist case.
Maoist camp busted in Sukma
In other news, security personnel in a counter-insurgency operation launched in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh have recovered and destroyed an operational impermanent Maoist camp in Burklanka area on Sunday, January 21.
According to the reports, Sukma police have received some solid intel about the presence of Maoist operatives in the Burklanka area following which a joint team of personnel from the District Reserve Guard (DRG), Bastar Fighters, and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) was immediately rushed to the spot, who later identified and destroyed an impermanent Maoist camp.
The development occurred days after the forces in another such operation gunned down as many as three cadres of the Maoist outfit in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. It is to be noted that of late, the security forces have intensified counter-insurgency drives in regions still affected in States such as Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Jharkhand.
Drive against LWE
It is worth mentioning here that the recent surge in security forces offensive campaigns has been noted after the Union Home Minister Amit Shah indicated that the ongoing war against left-wing extremism is in its final stages and the country will be free from the menace of Maoist terror in a few years’ time.
Recently, addressing a gathering in Guwahati, Assam, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also assured that “he believes that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the country will completely get rid of the problem of Naxalism (Maoism).”