A security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites, in Kanker district (L) An injured security personnel being treated after an encounter with Naxalites
A security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites, in Kanker district (L) An injured security personnel being treated after an encounter with NaxalitesPTI

29 Maoists killed in encounter with security personnel in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district; Amit Shah vows naxal-free India

The gunfight took place at around 2 pm in Hapatola forest between Binagunda and Koronar villages under Chhotebethiya police station limits.

RAIPUR: In a major offensive planned against the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in south Chhattisgarh, a few days ahead of the Lok Sabha polling, as many as 29 cadres of left-wing extremists were killed in an exchange of fire with the security forces at inhospitable Kalpad forested hilly terrain of Kanker district, about 220 km south of Raipur.

In recent months the security forces have stepped-up aggressive anti-Maoist operations with the renewed strategy targeting the rebels in the areas considered to be the latter’s strongholds in the conflict-ridden Bastar zone. Since the start of 2024, as many as 79 Naxalites have been killed in separate gun-battles with security forces in the Bastar region.

“It was a successful intelligence-based anti-Maoist operation launched by a joint party of Border Security Force (BSF) and Kanker District Reserve Force (DRG) near Binagunda-Koragutta jungles of Chhottebetiya police station. So far 29 bodies of Maoists have been recovered besides several automatic weapons and a huge cache of ammunition. The search operation in the region has been intensified”, said Sundarraj P, Bastar range inspector general of police.

The polling in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Bastar and Kanker are scheduled on April 19 and April 26 respectively.

The forces strategically took control of the area from three different directions to dominate their target in the region where around 50 Maoists were believed to be present.

The gunfight continued from 1:30 pm till 4:30 pm. BSF inspector Ramesh Choudhary and two personnel of DRG sustained injuries and were airlifted to Raipur for immediate medical attention.

The encounter spot happens to be a tri-junction of Kanker-Abhujmaad-Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) where the presence of Maoists in big numbers along with their senior leaders were reported.

The Bastar police claimed to have eliminated top commanders of Maoists including divisional committee members identified as Shankar Rao, Lalitha and Raju who had sizable cash rewards offered for their capture or elimination. The bodies are yet to be brought to the nearest base camp, the IG said.

According to the DIG (BSF) Alok Kumar Singh, it was a well analysed hot pursuit operation by the forces. “The joint anti-Maoist operation has been meticulously planned and executed. We took strategic moves and positions at challenging points after reaching the spot from different directions to corner the Maoists. Their fast movements were consistently under our close observations. There were reliable inputs gathered from different agencies and sources about the presence of Maoists in the region cited as their stronghold where they usually hold meetings”, he added. Forces were simultaneously in cautious mode to counter any attempt of additional group of armed rebels likely to reach the area.

The forces recovered automatic weapons including five AK-47, three self-loading rifles, INSAS assault rifle and huge ammunition from the encounter site.

“The forces out on operation are yet to return to the district headquarter. Reinforcement has been rushed to escalate the search operation in the region”, Indira Kalyan Elesela, Kanker SP tod TNIE.

BSF DG Nitin Agrawal is scheduled to arrive in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday. There are 10 BSF battalions deployed in Chhattisgarh.

Kanker is among the seven Maoist-affected districts in Bastar zone.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah commended the security forces for a successful operation resulting in the elimination of a significant number of Naxalites in Chhattisgarh. He expressed admiration for the bravery of the security personnel involved and extended wishes for the swift recovery of the injured personnel.

Highlighting the detrimental impact of Naxalism on development, peace, and the future of youth, Amit Shah emphasized the government's resolve, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to eradicate Naxalism from the country. He credited the government's offensive policy and the relentless efforts of the security forces for containing Naxalism to a limited area, expressing confidence that Chhattisgarh and the entire nation will soon be free from the menace of Naxalism.

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