Joint forces of the central and state governments killed eight Maoists in two separate operations in West Bengal and Jharkhand on Monday.
In the gunbattle in Bengal’s West Midnapore district, the secretary of the rebel-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), Sidhu Soren, is believed to be among the six Maoists killed. The police claimed a leader of the Maoists militia wing was also killed in the encounter.
In another operation in the Khunti district of Jharkhand, two Maoists were killed after security forces attacked a camp and engaged the rebels in a 12-hour encounter.
“The bodies were however taken away by the Maoists,” said Chhotanagpur DIG R.K. Mallick. In the encounter in West Midnapore’s Goaltore area, a CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) jawan of the central forces also died in the gunfight. District police officers said they also captured two Maoists from the spot and are interrogating them.
“After getting specific information, the forces moved into the deep forests of the Goaltore area. After an exchange of fire, we found bodies of six Maoists. One of them is probably Sidhu Soren (PCAPA secretary). We will ask his family members to identify him,” said West Midnapore Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma.
The security forces moved in at 3 am after getting information that a Maoist squad of about 20 rebels, including three women cadres, had taken shelter in a forest, 6 km from the metalled road in Goaltore area.
The forces decided to move in at the dead of night to catch the rebels off guard. As security forces moved towards the camp, the rebels began to fire on them and a heavy exchange of fire followed. The gunfight continued till 9 a.m.
After what the forces described as a major success, police officers sounded confident about the rising quality of intelligence that is leading them to attack rebels camps.
“We are getting a lot of information about the Maoists’ movements. This success can be attributed to the information we are being provided by the locals,” Verma said.