BHOPAL: Two wanted Maoists, including a woman cadre – both members of the CPI (Maoists) Tanda Dalam/Area Committee -- were gunned down in an encounter with police and special anti-naxal force in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday-Wednesday intervening night.
The slain Maoists identified as Mangesh and Nande, both carrying rewards of Rs 14 lakh each declared by MP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra governments on their heads, were gunned down by the Hawk Force (special anti-Naxal force of MP police) and Balaghat district police following an encounter in the dense forests in Lanji area at around 1 am.
The two slain Maoists have been identified as 21-year-old Ashok alias Mangesh (a native of Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh) and 19-year-old woman cadre Nande (a native of Bastar district of Chhattisgarh), said Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) VK Singh in Bhopal on Wednesday.
An SLR possibly looted by the armed rebels after an ambush on security forces in Chhattisgarh in the past and a 315 bore gun with live bullets and two wireless rounds were found from the slain Maoists after the encounter which lasted for around an hour in the dense forests of Pujaritola in Lanji area of Balaghat.
Three other Maoists, also part of the Tanda Dalam/Area Committee who were present in the forests, however, managed to escape the gun-battle with MP police.
According to senior cops, it was in 2012 last that male and female cadre of CPI (Maoists) were gunned down by security forces in the Maoists-violence hit Balaghat district of MP.
The encounter happened in Pujaritola jungles which are proximate to the dense forest-replete route of the new red Vistar corridor being planned by the CPI (Maoists) from Kavardha district of Chhattisgarh to Amarkantak in Anuppur district of MP.
Presently, only two districts of MP, including Balaghat and Mandla are Maoists affected districts, but two platoons, Vistar Platoon-2 and Vistar Platoon-3 of the CPI(Maoists) Kavardha-Balaghat (KB Division) are working on the plans to establish a left-wing extremist (LWE) corridor from Chhattisgarh’s Kavardha district to Amarkantak in MP via Dindori, Balaghat and Mandla districts also in MP.
The slain Maoists were part of the Tanda Dalam, which is considered a feeder group to the two Vistar platoons.
Importantly, three Dalams (area committees) -- Tanda, Darrekhasa and Malajkhand have been active in Balaghat district for around a decade under the large umbrella of Rajnandgaon-Gondia-Balaghat (RGB Division) of CPI(Maoists). But since last two years, as part of the plan to develop a new red corridor from Kavardha (Kabirdham) in Chhattisgarh to Amarkantak (Anuppur) in Madhya Pradesh, a new division Kavrdha-Balaghat (KB Division) has been created by the armed rebels. The rebels are working in two platoons, Vistar-1 and Vistar-2 comprising of armed male and female cadres to further the expansion plans in MP.