Ranchi, Aug. 9: At least 14 rebels belonging to the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) were killed by Maoists at Choti Kauriya, a village ringed by forests in Palamau district, in the wee hours today.
According to local residents, around 18 TPC members had taken shelter in the house of a fellow villager, Balram Sahu, when a huge squad of over 250 Maoists swooped down on Choti Kauriya, located about 55km from the district headquarters, in Vishrampur police station area.
“It was around 10.30pm. A gun battle first took place till around 2.30am. After the TPC rebels exhausted their ammunition, the Maoists killed some 14 of them from close range. We don’t know what happened to the remaining four,” said a resident, not willing to be named.
After the mass murder, the Maoists took away all the bodies before police could reach the spot. Maoist spokesperson Manaj Ji later claimed responsibility for the killings, saying it was a revenge for the Chatra attack last year when the TPC had murdered 10 of their aides.
A mail by IG (provisions) and state police spokesperson Anurag Gupta confirmed the incident. “There is information of 14 TPC Naxalites getting killed in a fight with Maoists at Kauriya village in Vishrampur of Palamau. Junior sub-inspector of Vishrampur and his team reached the spot. The gun fight has stopped now,” the mail said.
Palamau superintendent of police Y.G. Ramesh expressed his inability to give details as he is “out of station”.
A source said the village, where the encounter took place, is surrounded by forests and hardly has 50 houses.