38-year-old inspector played key role in Chhattisgarh encounter | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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38-year-old inspector played key role in Chhattisgarh encounter

By, Kanker (chhattisgarh)
Apr 18, 2024 07:16 AM IST

Kewat said that apart from the fierce firing that they faced, the heat and the difficult geography posed serious challenges

Laxman Kewat, the 38-year-old inspector ranked station house officer(SHO) of the Pakhanjur police station in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, first received intelligence inputs of a large Maoist gathering near Chhotebetiya late last week. By Saturday, as more such information poured in, he conveyed the intelligence the Kanker Superintendent of Police, Indira Kalyan Elsela.

Laxman Kewat has been with the state police for 17 years and taken part in 29 anti-Maoist operations (HT)
Laxman Kewat has been with the state police for 17 years and taken part in 29 anti-Maoist operations (HT)

On Tuesday night, Kewat, an anti-naxal operations veteran who has been with the state police for 17 years and taken part in 29 anti-Maoist operations, emerged from the forests of Chhotebetiya, having led a team of security forces who in a fierce exchange of fire, killed 29 Maoists in the biggest encounter in the state ever, and the most significant single-day blow to the rebels in 8 years.

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Kewat told HT that they began planning the operation on Saturday, and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, led a strong security force that included personnel of the District Reserve Guard and Bastar Fighters of the Chhattisgarh police and personnel of the Border Security Force. “At around 10 am, when we crossed the Kotri river, the Maoist sentries burst crackers to warn their senior cadre,” Kewat said.

The police officer said that the security forces then separated into three teams and moved forward. “The first fire came from a hill that is surrounded by a dense forest. The three parties converged on the hill. We were aware that they would attempt to escape when descending so we began to cordon it off. The firing lasted for four hours, and we found 29 bodies on the hill. We think they were a group of around 40 cadre and some may have escaped,” Kewat said.

Kewat said that apart from the fierce firing that they faced, the heat and the difficult geography posed serious challenges. Kanker reported a temperature of 38°C on Tuesday. “In such adverse conditions, climbing the hill was difficult but our forces were motivated,” Kewat said.

Acknowledging Kewat’s role in the encounter, inspector general of police(Bastar) P Sunderaj said, “Every commander plays a key role. But it is clear Kewat played a crucial role on Tuesday.”

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