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Hostage girl injured

Ranchi: Police believe a 15-year-old-girl belonging to a particularly vulnerable tribal group, who was injured during an encounter on Thursday, will be able to throw light on a CPI (Maoist) squad's activities in the Naudiha Bazar area of Palamau district.

According to police, the girl, who was injured in the encounter, was recovering at the district hospital in Daltonganj.

"The girl, who is also from the Naudiha area, sustained splinter injuries during the encounter," said Palamau SP Indrajeet Mahatha.

"The rebels forcibly took her away a few months back. At their camp, the rebels made her cook meals and wash clothes. She was also trained to handle small firearms," he said, adding they were also probing if she was sexually exploited by the rebels.

Mahatha said since no woman police officer was available, the girl had not been questioned in detail. "We will soon assign a woman officer to examine the aspect of sexual abuse. Proper medical treatment for her is more important now. The rest will follow," the SP added.

Police sources indicated they would book the rebel squ-ad under various sections of Juvenile Justice Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, apart from the relevant Sections of IPC, CrPC and Arms Act.

A CPI (Maoist) rebel was killed in the encounter. He has been identified as Mahesh Bhokta, alias, Guardian.

The gun battle, said sources, went on for nearly two hours. Considering that three sophisticated weapons were recovered from the spot and there were bloodstains all over the area, police had initially cla-imed that four rebels may have been killed. However, only Mahesh's body was recovered.

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