10 Maoists, elite force personnel killed in gun-battle in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur/Hyderabad, March 2 (PTI): At least 10 Maoists, including six women, were killed on Friday when Telangana Police’s Greyhounds swooped on a Naxal camp in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district in an early morning operation in which a personnel of the elite force also lost his life, officials said.

Police suspect that there could be senior cadre members among the ultra killed. Acting on an intelligence report, the personnel of Greyhounds went 35-km into neighbouring Chhattisgarh area and launched an operation on the Maoist camp, they said.

“Ten Maoists were killed in the encounter. Screening of the bodies is going on to identify the deceased,” superintendent of police of Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district, Ambar Kishor Jha told PTI.

“Susheel Kumar, a junior commando of the Greyhounds, lost his life,” he said. Six women were among the ultras killed in the operation which took place at around 6.30 AM, while a junior commando of the Greyhounds also lost his life in the exchange of fire, officials said.

The Greyhounds, an anti-Naxal force, swooped on the camp as part of a joint operation with the Chhattisgarh Police.

A senior official of the district police said the bodies of ultras were being shifted to Bhadrachalam Area Hospital.

An AK-47 was been recovered from the encounter site. It is a normal practise with Maoists that hi-tech assault rifles are given to senior cadre members, officials said.

The exchange of fire took place between a team of Greyhounds and rebels in a forest near Pujari Kanker under Pamed police station area, about 500 km from Raipur, Bijapur superintendent of police Mohit Garg told PTI.

Security forces from Telangana and Chhattisgarh had launched the counter-insurgency operation in the forest on the inter-state border based on inputs about a gathering of a large group of ultras, he said, adding that the search operation was still underway.

Greyhounds is a special force of the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which undertakes operations against Naxals.

Meanwhile, Varavara Rao, a member of the Revolutionary Writers’ Association, raised doubts over the genuineness of the gun-fight and claimed it was ‘fake’.

He said the Association has moved a “lunch motion” petition in the Hyderabad High Court seeking direction to the police to follow Supreme Court guidelines related to encounters.

He demanded that the bodies of the deceased Maoists be photographed at the site of the incident and shifted to Warangal or Hyderabad for post-mortem examination by forensic experts.

A lunch motion petition is filed in case of an emergency and the case is heard the very same day after lunch.

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