Two policemen killed in encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma

A joint team of the Special Task Force, District Reserve Guard and local police came under heavy firing from the ultras while passing through the forest between Bhejji and Elarmadgu.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2018 21:13 IST
S Kareemuddin and Ritesh Mishra
S Kareemuddin and Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times, Bastar/Raipur
A joint team of STF, DRG and local police were caught in a gun-battle that lasted for over two hours.(HT File Photo)

Two policemen and a civilian were killed in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Sunday, police said, adding that they managed to gun down more than 20 of the rebels.

The encounter started after the Maoists attacked a road construction work under Bhejji police station limits around 8.30am, said police.

The Maoist ambush came a day after the Intelligence Bureau (IB) issued an alert to Chhattisgarh about the possibility of a big attack in the next few days, said a source aware of the communication. “Such alerts are sent not only to us, but also to other states,” the source added.

“District reserve guard (DRG) assistant constables Madkam Handa and Mukesh Kadthi and a supervisor of the contractor working on the Bhejji–Chintagufa road were killed in the attack,” said DM Awasthi, special director general of police (anti-Naxal operations), Chhattisgarh.

“According to eyewitnesses, more than 20 Maoists were also killed in the encounter. But their bodies could not be recovered because the Maoists dragged them into the jungle,” he added.

“The Maoists set ablaze vehicles engaged in construction work. A joint team of special task force and DRG fought them for about five hours. Six DRG personnel were injured in the encounter,” said Awasthi.

Maoists repeatedly attack road construction work in their strongholds spread across wide swathes of Sukma and other areas in Bastar region to prevent easy movement of security personnel.

In March last year, Maoists ambushed and killed 14 CRPF troopers guarding road construction work on Injiram-Bhejji stretch in Sukma, about 15 km from the site of Sunday’s encounter.

The rebels inflicted even more deadly damage in April 2017, killing 25 security personnel in an ambush at south Sukma’s Burkapal.

Sukma is among India’s worst left wing extremism-affected regions and has seen decades of bloody conflict.

Following the latest encounter, superintendents of police of Maoist violence-affected districts were directed to remain on alert.

In January, Maoists killed four state police personnel in an ambush in Narayanpur district. The rebels looted four automatic weapons and about 300 rounds of ammunition in the attack.

A senior police officer posted in Bastar said, “Big Maoists attacks often take place between March and May. Their aim is to loot arms and to stop development work.” The officer did not want to be named.

Police declined to comment on the intelligence alert.

First Published: Feb 18, 2018 19:02 IST