A jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force’s CoBra battalion was killed and five others, including an assistant commandant, were injured in a gunbattle between forces and Maoists at Panchrukhia forest in Aurangabad on Sunday.
The deceased has been identified as Braj Nandan Choudhary, a resident of Chhattisgarh. Three seriously injured CoBra battalion personnel identified as Neeraj Singh (assistant commandant), Dilip and Jyoti (both commandos) have been admitted to a private nursing home at Kankerbagh in Patna.
CRPF deputy inspector-general (DIG) Umesh Kumar said six Maoists, including a hardened rebel identified as Arvind Bhuyian, were also killed either in landmine explosions or in the exchange of fire. The condition of another Maoist by the same name, Arvind, a central committee member, was critical, he added.
Umesh, however, admitted that the Maoists escaped with the bodies of the rebels. “The bloodstains on the spot bore testimony to the extent of damage caused to the banned organisation during the encounter,” he said, adding that the search operation was still on in the area. Umesh, along with additional superintendent of police (operations) Shambhu Prasad, was camping in the area to monitor the operation.
Earlier, DIG (Magadh range) Nayyar Hasnain Khan said a special operation was launched in the bordering areas of Gaya and Aurangabad on Saturday following a tip-off that a few members of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army had assembled in the area to carry out a major operation.
The rebels detonated improvised explosive devices to prevent the police force from proceeding towards the forest. In the ensuing encounter, the five security personnel suffered injuries. As the area is inaccessible, a helicopter was pressed into service to provide aerial support to the security personnel. The seriously injured jawans were air lifted to Patna for treatment, he added.
Sources said the police made claims about the casualties of the Maoists after they intercepted the conversation of some cadres on mobile phones after the operation. The Rohtas police, on the other hand, nabbed four Maoists during a raid conducted in Bharkuria village under Indrapuri police station. Two guns, one barrel countrymade gun, one countrymade pistol, 28 live cartridges and a large quantity of explosives were seized.
Report also came in from Sheohar where hardened Maoist Bhikhari Paswan was caught from Mahuawa village under Piprahi police station of the district on Sunday.