At least 11 Maoists including five commanders were killed in an encounter in Bastar during the ongoing Martyrs’ week, the police claimed calling it a major achievement.
The naxalites were killed in Ramaram village of Sukma district’s Chintagupha police station area in a joint operation carried out by the CRPF, CoBRA and the district police. However, the police could recover only one dead body from the scene. Seven personnel were also injured during the operation. The encounter took place at around 4 pm on 28 July, sources said.
According to the police headquarters, a joint search operation was launched in the Kurigundam area near Ramaram where a large number of Maoists had gathered to observe the Martyrs’ Week. When the forces approached, the Maoists allegedly began firing at them.
The Inspector General of Police (Bastar range), SRP Kalluri, has called the encounter that left the 11 Maoists dead the biggest so far.
Superintendent Police (Sukma) D Shrawan told TEHELKA that at least 40 Maoists were gathered for the meeting. After the exchange of heavy gunfire for two hours, a search was carried out but only one Maoist’s body could be recovered. The police also recovered firearms. “As the naxalites flee, they take the dead bodies of their companions along,” explains Shrawan. “In such a case, the police confirm the death toll from the villagers.” Shrawan claims that the villagers have confirmed that 11 naxalites were killed in the encounter.
The IG of CRPF Harpreet Singh Siddhu also confirmed the deaths of the Maoists.
The naxalites observe Martyrs’ week every year from 28 July to 3 August commemorating their deceased companions. This year too they have called for the observance of the week. Banners and posters have been put up across south Bastar. Police sources claim that the naxalites were holding meetings in interior parts of Sukma district including Chintalnar, Jagargunda, Kankerlanka and Bhejji owing to which the police have heightened the search operations.