A top naxal commander, wanted in connection with 32 criminal cases in UP and Bihar, was gunned down by security forces in a fierce encounter in Sonebhadra district, police said on Tuesday.
The self-styled maoist zonal commander Kamlesh Chowdhary, who was trying to reactivate the naxalites in Sonebhadra-Mirzapur region, was gunned down in a three hour-long fierce encounter in the forests of Kanach in the district, 80 kms from here, last evening, Inspector General of Police Gurudarshan Singh said.
Claiming it to be a big success of the police force, Singh said that on a specific input a team of SOG and local police surrounded the forest area of Chopan in the district and started combing operation.
The joint team spotted naxal activity in the forest of Kanach and challenged the naxals hiding there to surrender but the Naxalites opened fire on the forces.
Police retaliated and in the subsequent encounter, the naxal was killed while some of his associates were injured.
After the encounter, police recovered the body of the top commander but the injured naxals were taken away by their associates.
He said Chowdhary was wanted in over 21 crimes in Bihar and 11 crimes in Sonebhadra district.
He was on the run for the last eight years.
The UP police had declared a reward of Rs one lakh on his head while the Jharkhand and Bihar police had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 each on his head.
He was also involved in the Hinaut landmine blast at Naughar in Chandauli district in 2004.
Two rifles, including one belonging to the police, and a revolver were recovered from the slain naxal.
ADG (Law and Order) Brijlal told PTI over phone from Lucknow that the team of police and SOG engaged in the encounter will be rewarded.
Meanwhile, in view of threats issued by the Maoists, an alert has also been sounded in the region.
Singh said police of all naxal-infested districts - Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli - have been asked to be vigilant.