It was a meticulously planned operation to nab the Maoist leadership in Jharkhand’s Bandgaon forests, but the rebels managed to give the special forces the slip.
In the heavy exchange of fire during what’s being described as a rebel training camp in Mamail village, 150 km south-west of capital Ranchi in West Singhbhum district, one jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) Cobra battalion lost his life.
The gunbattle lasted 2 days and ended on Sunday night.
Security forces claimed that at least 10 CPI Maoist cadre were killed, but no bodies have been recovered so far.
At least 7,000 rounds were exchanged in the operation that was jointly carried out by the state police and the CRPF. The security forces used mortars and sophisticated artillery, probably for the first time in an anti-Maoist operation.
“We engaged them in gunfire throughout the day on Saturday but they escaped after sunset (on Sunday) under the cover of darkness,” said CRPF DIG Alok Raj, adding that the jawan killed was identified as Himmat Singh, a resident of Rajasthan.
At least five security personnel and an unknown number of Maoists were injured in the operation.
Director General of Police Neyaz Ahmad said the forces had destroyed the Maoist stronghold that had about 400 rebels.