29 Naxals killed in Bastar encounter

The Asian Age.  | Rabindra Nath Choudhury

India, Crime

The joint search party came under attack by Naxals near the forested village of Happatola at around 2 pm on Tuesday

Security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites, in Kanker district, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. At least 29 Naxalites were killed by the security forces, and three security personnel suffered injuries, according to police. (PTI Photo)

RAIPUR: The security forces killed 29 Naxals in an encounter on Tuesday in the biggest ever counterinsurgency operation in Kanker district of Bastar. Three jawans including a Border Security Force (BSF) inspector were injured in the incident.

Two Naxal commanders identified as Shankar Rao and Lalita Madhvi, who were in the rank of divisional committee member in the cadre and carried a bounty of Rs 25 lakh each, were among the 29 slain ultras, police sources said.

Acting on specific intelligence inputs on the presence of large number of armed Leftwing guerrillas including some senior Naxal leaders, a joint team comprising personnel of BSF and District Reserve Guards (DRG), the tribal counterinsurgency wing of Chhattisgarh police, launched a search operation in Binaguna- Koragutta jungles under Chhotebtiya police station in Kanker district, police said.

The joint search party came under attack by Naxals near the forested village of Happatola at around 2 pm on Tuesday, leading to a fierce encounter between them. “After the encounter, bodies of 29 Naxals along with huge cache of AK 47 assault rifles, INSAS, self-loading rifles (SLRs), carbines, and .303 rifles and huge quantities of arms and ammunition were recovered at the spot”, Bastar range inspector general of police P. Sunderraj told this newspaper.

The injured BSF inspector, Ramesh Choudhury, and two DRG jawans were airlifted from the encounter site to Raipur for medical treatment, police said.

“The security forces for the first time launched the anti-Naxal operation in the strategic tri-junction of the Maad area in Kanker and Narayanpur districts in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. This is a surgical strike against Naxals in Bastar,” Chhattisgarh Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma who is also state home minister said.

Union home minister Amit Shah, who is currently in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, spoke to Sharma on phone to take stock of the situation.