According to sources, the Maharashtra police is exchanging fire in an ongoing encounter with a group of Maoists in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.

Around 250 Maoists are expected to be holed up in a forest. Initial reports suggest that the fire fight is happening in a forest near Halewara village in the district.

The area, near Nagpur, is the hotbed of Maoist activity in Maharashtra.

Home minister P Chidambaram had visited the area in December last year, leading to a lull in violence.

Two tribals and a contractor were killed in the area recently in two separate instances.

Maoists, who dominate a stretch between Interior Maharashtra in the West to Orissa and West Bengal in the East and Nepal in the North, are fighting for the establishment of a ‘red corridor’ from Andhra to Nepal.

The armed insurrectionists claim, with some justification, to represent the interests of the poor and marginalized, especially tribal groups in East India.

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