Maharashtra: Surrendered Naxal says he saw Gattepalli villagers

Mangesh, alias Vijay Gawde (32), who surrendered before the Gadchiroli police on Friday, along with four others, had escaped the ambush, as he had reportedly gone to a neighbouring village to fetch rice for the camp.

A Naxal, who was part of the group that was ambushed by Gadchiroli police on April 23, has said he had seen eight Gattepalli villagers in the congregation.

Mangesh, alias Vijay Gawde (32), who surrendered before the Gadchiroli police on Friday, along with four others, had escaped the ambush, as he had reportedly gone to a neighbouring village to fetch rice for the camp.

He said: “The eight persons from Gattepalli included five women and three men. They were in civil clothes but were carrying country-made rifles and shoulder bags.” Asked how they had reached Kasnasur camp, Mangesh said: “They had come along with Naxal leader Sainath, who was also from Gattepalli village.” Sainath was among the 34 killed in the police ambush.

The eight missing Gattepalli villagers’ issue had stirred a controversy. But the police had said they were part of the Kasnasur gathering and had accompanied Sainath. Later, the police had claimed that their names had been mentioned as militia members from Gattepalli in the diaries recovered from the spot.

“Now, Mangesh has also confirmed it. We are waiting for the DNA reports, which will finally confirm it,” said Abhinav Deshmukh, the SP, who relinquished charge on Thursday to incumbent Shailesh Balkawde.

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