Hyderabad: Eight suspected Maoists, including six women, were killed in an encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on Friday. Three security personnel were also injured in the reported gun battle, and the police recovered ammunition, six rocket launchers, kit bags, a self-loading rifle, a revolver, four smooth bore breech loading guns, 10 kit bags and clothes.
According to senior police officials, a joint team of the elite anti-Naxalite force Greyhounds and Chhattisgarh police were conducing combing operations in the forest belt, based on information about the presence of suspected Maoists, when there was an EOF (exchange of fire).
Deputy Inspector General (Bastar) Sundaraj P. told the media that security forces had launched combing operations based on specific information of Maoist movement in the area. "As the personnel were conducting combing operations, they came under fire from the CPI (Maoists). The Maoists were killed in retaliatory firing," he said.
Police are conducting search operations in the area to find out if any more Maoists were killed, or whether any injured has sought shelter with sympathisers in the area. The bodies of the Maoists killed in the encounter were shifted to Bijapur hospital for post mortem examinations. Of those killed, officials said a few could be from Telangana and the remaining from Chhattisgarh, and added that they are attempting identification with the help of photographs and surrendered Maoists.
Senior police officials in Telangana said security had been tightened in the agency areas after the two encounters in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, which resulted in the death of 40 suspected Maoists. All districts bordering Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have been put on high alert fearing retaliatory attacks.
Two days ago, a group of suspected Maoists had blasted a culvert in Kottagudam Bhadadri district of Telangana. The previous month, 10 Maoists were killed in the district in a reported encounter with security personnel in the Tadapalagutta-Pujari Kanker forests, bordering Telangana. Six women were among the rebels killed in that incident.