RAIPUR: Three Maoists were killed in separate encounters with security forces in forests of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada and Bijapur districts in Bastar division on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The Maoists who were Malangir area committee members, were carrying cash reward of Rs 5 lakh each on their heads, police said adding that the total number of Maoists bodies recovered this year make up to 62.
According to P Sundarraj, DIG anti-Maoist operations, “An encounter broke out between security forces and ultras in forests of Kutrem in Kirandul region that killed two Maoists. A joint team of District Reserve Guards (DRG) and local police was out on anti-Maoist operations on Friday and the gunbattle broke around 11.30pm.”
Sundarraj added that the encounter went on for around half an hour and Maoists retreated into jungles. During searching the area, two bodies of ultras were recovered from the spot and they were brought back to the base.
They were identified as Lachu Mandavi, Malangir Area committee member carrying cash reward of Rs 5 lakh and Podiya, Malangir Area Committee carrying cash bounty of Rs 5 lakh, the officer said.
He added that one 9 mm pistol (local made) and one 12 bore weapon were also recovered from the spot.
Dantewada assembly constituency is scheduled to go for by-polls on September 23 and search operations have hence, been intensified. The by-elections are taking place months after BJP legislator Bhima Mandavi was killed in a Maoist attack in April this year. The security is being tightened in the region as during assembly elections in 2018, Maoists had killed a DD cameraman and three policemen ten days before the constituency went to polls.
In another encounter in Bijapur district , a DRG team from Awapalli went on anti-Maoist operations on specific input about movement of dreaded divisional Maoist commander member Nagesh with his team near Punnur, around six kilometres north east of Awapalli.
“An exchange of fire took place on Saturday morning around 8.30-9.00 am between DRG team and Maoists near Punnur. After the encounter, during search operation one body of a Maoist cadre along a 315 bore rifle was recovered,” said Sundarraj.
While reinforcement was sent to the spot, the police party was yet to return to base and identification of the Maoist is pending.