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29 Maoists Killed, Major Attack on Security Forces Foiled, IPS Somay Munde Given Shaurya Chakra for His Bravery

IPS Somay Munde was awarded the Shaurya Chakra by the President of India He carried out a big anti-Naxal operation in Gadchiroli, killing their leader and many others Shaurya Chakra is the third highest gallantry award after Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra
Indian Masterminds Stories

On the night of 12 July, 2021, Milind Teltumbde, a fierce Maoist commander of the banned CPI (Maoist) organization, along with almost 120 heavily armed Naxalites gathered in the jungles surrounding the Mardintola village of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. They were planning a big attack on the security forces. If they were to succeed, this would have been one of the worst attack on the security forces. But they could not succeed. Instead, they invited their own death.

An anti-Naxal operation was chalked out by 2016-batch IPS officer and the then Additional SP of Police (Operation) of Gadchiroli, Mr. Somay Munde, and 29 Naxalites were neutralised including their leader Milind Teltumbde. Two members of the officer’s team got bullets and many were badly injured. But they showed exemplary bravery and carried out one of the most successful operations in the police history of Gadchiroli.

IPS officer Somay Mundey was awarded the prestigious Shaurya Chakra by the President of India for his exceptional bravery against the Naxals and for eliminating them. He is an IITian from IIT Bombay. Now, he is SP of Latur.

Indian Masterminds spoke to Mr. Munde to know about the Naxal operation that won him the Shaurya Chakra.

IPS Munde with his mother

12 JULY NIGHT

On 12 July, 2021, Gadchiroli police received information from their sources about the gathering of roughly 120 -130 heavily armed insurgents planning to conduct a major attack on security forces in the backdrop of the PLGA week. As per the orders and under the supervision of the then SP of Gadchiroli, Mr. Ankit Goyal, an anti-Naxal operation was chalked out by Mr. Somay Munde, ASP (Op), Gadchiroli. He led a team of C-60 commandos, highly trained in Naxal operations, and 25 police personnel.

As the commandos reached near a hill, 90-100 armed Maoists hidden on the hilltop attacked the commandos by opening fire. Mr. Munde and his team of 25 jawans fought back fiercely. The whole operation involved 300 jawans.

Mr. Munde told Indian Masterminds, “Based on the information, we planned our operation. We launched it on the night of 12 July, and on 13 July, firing started early morning. This operation lasted for a whole day, almost 10 hours. After that, we were able to neutralize 29 Naxalites and recovered their bodies. It was a huge hilly forest area. We recovered a huge number of automated weapons from the spot.”

2016 batch IPS officer Munde

Two jawans of his team got shot and many got injured. Naik Tikaram Katenge sustained two bullet wounds on his right hand and right shoulder, but continued to fiercely engage Maoists for over two hours. He shifted his rifle position to his left hand and continued to retaliate, while Mr. Munde and his team provided cover fire. He and his assault group of six men gunned down six heavily armed Maoists.
Mr. Munde and team charged at the remaining Maoists despite a volley of bullets flying around. They succeeded in killing three more Maoists and save wounded jawans from imminent danger. All this while, the Maoists continued to fire indiscriminately at the commandos.

One jawan got bullet in his head even. But all survived and there was no casualties in this operation. Mr. Munde convinced his seniors to allow him to keep waiting for almost two hours, 12-2 pm, at ground zero to outsmart the Maoists’ ploy to retreat and return later to recover their comrades’ bodies.

Mr. Munde said, “Teltumbde was the leader of Naxalite movements in three states, MP, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. He was very high profile and a key operative of the organisation with a reward of Rs. 50 lakh for his capture. So, before they could execute their plans, we planned our attack and neutralized them.”

Receiving Shaurya Chakra: IPS Somay Munde (left), Police naik Tikaram Katenge and Ravindra Naitam (right)

DEDICATION

Mr. Munde, who had planned and led the encounter hailed Mr. Katenge as one of the heroes of the Mardintola encounter.

Dedicating his award to the police forces, he said, “I feel fortunate to have led the team against anti-Naxal operations. I want to dedicate the award to the 202 personnel, who in the past four decades have laid down their lives, while combating extremism in Gadchiroli district.”

Along with Mr. Munde, police naik Tikaram Katenge and Ravindra Naitam were also decorated with the Shaurya Chakra.

JOURNEY

33-year-old Somay Vinayak Munde hails from Degalur in Nanded district. His parents are doctors, father a general surgeon and mother a gynecologist. He has a younger sister.

He did his B.Tech in Chemical engineering from IIT Bombay. Later he completed his M.Tech from there too. After completing his B.Tech in 2013, he started preparing for UPSC. He cleared UPSC CSE-2015 and became IPS officer of 2016 batch (69RR).

His first posting was at Vaijapur in Aurangabad district. After that, he worked as ASP in Amravati district and as Additional SP in Gadchiroli district. He has carried out many brave operations and is considered as an anti-Naxal specialist. In March 2021, he went to a Naxalite area at Abujmal in Chhattisgarh area and destroyed their hideout and seized their weapons. On 21 May, 2021, 13 Naxalites were killed in Etapalli, Gadchiroli, under his command.

With Family

IIT DAYS

Talking about his days at IIT, he said, “My experience in IIT Bombay was really great. It is one of the premier institutes of our country. It provides a very good atmosphere to students of every field. You will find IITians in every field, be it the ministry, bureaucracy, or the corporate world. IIT Bombay provides a very diversified atmosphere. They encourage you to take initiatives and follow your passion.”


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