RAIPUR: Two Naxals, including a woman, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Wednesday morning, police said.
While initially, the police said bodies of two Naxals were recovered following the encounter, they later said that only one body was found along with two firearms.
The face-off took place around 5 am at a forest near Gonderas village when a joint team of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Special Task Force (STF) was out on an anti-Maoist operation, Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj P told PTI.
The patrolling team was moving through Gonderas, located along the border of Dantewada-Sukma districts around 450 km from here, when a group of ultras fired at them, leading to the gun-battle, he said.
The exchange of fire lasted for about an hour following which the rebels fled from the spot, he said.
"During the search, the body of a woman Naxal clad in uniform was recovered from the spot along with an Insas rifle and a 12 bore gun", the DIG said.
"Initially, the troops at the ground informed that two ultras, including a woman, were gunned down. But later we got information that the ultras managed to drag the body of their male colleague inside the forest," he said.
Some ammunition, Maoist literature, items of daily use and other Naxal-related material were found at the spot, he said.
"Several other Naxals were reported to be injured in the gunfight," the DIG said, adding a search operation was underway in the area to trace them.
Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava said, acting on specific inputs about the presence of 70 to 80 rebels in Gonderas, a joint team of around 260 security personnel had launched the operation.
Women commandos of the recently raised DRG platoon, named 'Danteshwari Ladake' (fighters of Goddess Danteshwari), were also involved in the anti-Naxal action, he said.
The killed cadre, who was yet to be identified, prima facie seemed to be from military battalion no. 1 of Maoists, Pallava said.
Security forces have intensified anti-Naxal operations in Dantewada following the killing of BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four police personnel in a deadly attack by rebels in Shyamgiri area of the district on April 9.
According to police, three commander rank cadres of Maoists were gunned down in separate encounters in Dantewada in the past one month.