C-60: commandos the naxals fear the most
A visit to Vidarbha, Maharashtra — which has seen some of the bloodiest battles with insurgents in recent decades — to speak with the force tasked to root out the enemy hiding in the depths of the jungles and also ensure locals don’t fall prey to the dangerous ideology
The photographs belong to the Gadchiroli police personnel who died fighting Naxalites in the last three decades. (Only four of them are women.) And as you take a walk in the 1,000-plus sq ft memorial, inaugurated on September 28, 2020, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the stories of valour, courage and self-sacrifice you bear witness.
This year is particularly significant for the Gadchiroli police because they haven’t lost a single personnel in battle. Moreover, the police killed 27 Naxals in an encounter in the forest last month, which included senior cadre Milind Teltumbde. For this, most of the credit goes to C-60, a team of elite commandos — similar to the Greyhound forces in Telangana and the SOG special units in Andhra Pradesh — formed in 1990 by the (now-retired) DGP KP Raghuvanshi, to fight the insurgents.
“Just as how war is fought on the border, a similar war is being fought here in Gadchiroli,” Sandip Patil, deputy general of police, Naxal Range (DIG-Gadchiroli and Gondia districts), tells TOI+.