About 70 police personnel were on Wednesday reported missing after a "major" gun battle with heavily armed Maoists in a forest in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada area, officials said.
The gunfight began when Maoists attacked a search party of the state police in a thickly forested area of Gumiapal, close to Kirandul, about 420 km south of capital Raipur, an iron ore mining facility of India's top iron ore producer NMDC Ltd.
"About 70 police personnel are missing," a source at the police headquarters in Raipur said.
"Additional forces have been rushed to the site. The gun battle is on amid heavy rain. I can't comment now about casualty or injury but it's a major fight," the police officer told IANS.
A strong contingent of the District Force (DF) and Koya Commando comprising special police officers (SPOs) had gone into the forest around 11 am after a tip-off about the presence of a unit headed by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) commander Ganesh Uike, state police spokesperson Rajesh Mishra told reporters.
"Police headquarters is awaiting details about the encounter which is still on. Our brave policemen are giving them (Maoists) a very tough fight," said Mishra, an inspector general of police.