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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Chhattisgarh: 29 suspected Maoists gunned down in security citadel

Three security personnel suffered injuries in the gunbattle and a large quantity of weapons was recovered from the spot, police officials said

Pheroze L. Vincent Jagdalpur Published 17.04.24, 05:38 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

At least 29 suspected Maoists were killed on Tuesday in an encounter in the fortified security hub of Kanker, the gateway to the Bastar belt travelling south from Raipur.

Three security personnel suffered injuries in the gunbattle and a large quantity of weapons was recovered from the spot, police officials said.

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According to a police statement, a joint search team comprising the Border Security Force (BSF) and the state police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) was mobilised on Tuesday for search operations in the Chhottebetiya police station area in Kanker district.

“At around 1400 hrs in the afternoon there was an exchange of fire between Maoists and security forces near Binagunda-Koragutta jungles,” the statement added.

The operation was launched based on inputs about the presence of senior cadres of the north Bastar division of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) — Shankar, Lalita, Raju and others — the police said.

“The bodies of 29 Maoists, along with a huge cache of weapons, including AK-47, SLR, Insas and .303 rifles, were recovered from the spot,” the statement said.

Shankar is among those killed, PTI reported.

“Three security personnel sustained injuries in the gunfight and their condition was stated to be out of danger. They were referred to a hospital for treatment,” a police official said.

This is the highest casualty suffered by the Maoists in a single incident since 2018 when 37 of them were killed in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district.

Earlier this month, 13 suspected Maoists were killed in a gun battle with the security forces in Bijapur district. Maoists claimed these were extra-judicial killings and that only two of the deceased were its members. The police denied the charge.

In February, state Congress chief and Bastar MP Deepak Baij claimed that three “Maoists” were killed in a fake encounter that month.

Kanker is the northernmost district of the Bastar division. It is home to the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare College, which trains police officers to fight the Maoists in asymmetric warfare. So far, 79 suspected Maoists have been killed this year, more than triple the casualties last year.

The violence peaked after the BJP came to power in December. Maoists have killed three BJP leaders in the state this year.

Polling in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat will take place on April 19 in the first phase, while the Kanker constituency, part of the Bastar region, will vote in the second round of the general election on April 26.

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