7 maoists gunned down, jawan hurt in Chhattisgarh
Seven suspected Maoists were gunned down in an encounter with security forces in the Sitagota jungles in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district on Saturday morning, police said.
The exchange of fire took place around 6am when a District Reserve Guard (DRG) team was out on anti-Naxalite operation. An AK-47, two .303 rifles and other arms/ammunition were found from the spot, which comes under Bagnadi police station.
Chhattisgarh director general of police DM Awasthi said “seven bodies of Maoists” had been recovered so far and search operations were underway in the area. “One AK-47 has been recovered, which means a commander-level cadre of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has been killed in the encounter. But identification is yet to be done,” he said. This is a major success for the Chhattisgarh police in the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC) zone, towards which the Maoists have been gravitating to dodge stepped-up anti-Naxalite activity in Bastar, Awasthi said.
“Since operations in Bastar increased in the last year, the Maoists were moving towards this MMC zone. So, we started operations in this zone also and got success today [Saturday],” he said. The Maoists’ new MMC zone comprises districts located at the tri-junction of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and has seen the presence of Vistaar Dalam, which has around 200 armed cadres in its ranks.
A letter recovered by security forces from Bastar in February 2017 hints at the increasing pressure felt by Maoists in the region and shifting of their forces to MMC. Written to Comrade Surendra by Comrade Somru, the letter says, “Oppression is rising. The enemy has opened 20 new camps in the bureau. Ten new camps have been opened in Darbha division in 2016. Villagers are fleeing from the area and we are working in difficult condition.”
Last Saturday, seven Maoists, including three women cadres, were killed in an encounter with security forces in the jungles of Jagadalpur district. Five weapons were recovered from the spot.