Hours before Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s rally in Khunti, 5 CRPF jawans were killed and three others injured in a gunfight with Maoists on Saturday.
The encounter, which began at 7 am in the Jarko village of Khunti district, continued for six hours.
“Five CRPF jawans died on the spot in the encounter with Maoists and three others were injured,” Inspector General of Police SN Pradhan said.
Acting on a tip-off about the Maoists’ presence in the area, security forces from Ranchi reached the area. In the ensuing gunfire, 5 jawans, including one head constable, died on the spot. Three others sustained bullet injuries, but were declared out of danger after being treating in a hospital.
The police said this was the first major Maoist attack before Lok Sabha elections and Khunti would go to polls on April 16. CRPF jawans recovered 10 cane bombs and some cartridges from the spot.
Soon after the incident, Governor Syed Sibtey Razi called a special meeting, which was attended by the state’s top cops, including DGP, VD Ram.
A CRPF officer told HT that the ultras numbering 500 simply outnumbered the cops. There were only 100 jawans when the firing started.
Report of killing of one Maoist is also coming out, but his identity is yet to be confirmed.
Police camp attacked
In another incident, Maoists attacked a make-shift police camp at Parro village in Garwah district.
About 30 Maoists attacked the camp around 5 am firing indiscriminately, SP, Saket, Kumar Singh said.
Retaliatory fire by the security forces forced the Maoists to retreat into the forests near the foothills, he said.
Blood stains on a large stretch of area were found, indicating that the Maoists had suffered bullet injuries, he said. Two hand-grenades were also recovered from the spot.
With inputs from PTI