Police gunned down nine Maoists in an encounter in Rayagada district of Orissa on Sunday. Police said all the bodies were recovered along with nine weapons, including Insas and self-loading rifles.
In a separate encounter in neighbouring Jharkhand, security forces killed three Maoists, including two self-styled area commanders, at Hurbung near Jhumra hills in Bokaro.
Orissa’s south western range deputy inspector general of police Soumendra Priyadarshi said, “This is the biggest toll of Maoists in an encounter in Orissa. Recovery of sophisticated arms from them proves that they were hardcore cadres of the banned CPI(Maoist).”
Priyadarshi said police rushed to Basangamali hill, about 500 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, in the early hours of the morning after a tip-off about the presence of nearly 20 armed Maoists there. The police did not suffer any casualties in the fire exchange.
In the past two months, Orissa police have killed 24 Maoists, 16 of them in Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada, the southwestern districts.
Controversies are twirling around some of the killings with rights groups terming them fake encounters. The most controversial ‘encounter’ has been the killing of two in Bargarh district on December 20 last year. The men police shot turned out to be BJP workers. The party has demanded a CBI probe into the killings.
The deceased were also members of a civil society group opposing mining in Gandhamardan Hill for bauxite.
(With PTI inputs from Bokaro)