A divisional committee rank Naxalite carrying at least two rewards totalling ₹21 lakh on her head was among two Naxalites killed in an encounter with the security forces, including C-60 commandos from neighbouring Maharashtra, in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on Friday, police said.
Police nabbed three women in the operation who were working as watchers for Naxalites, a Maharashtra police official said.
The woman Naxalite killed in the encounter was identified as Kanthi Lingavva alias Anitha (41), a divisional committee rank cadre. She was carrying a reward of ₹16 lakh on her head in Maharashtra. Similarly, the Telangana government had announced a reward of ₹5 lakh bounty, a senior Chhattisgarh police officer said.
The identity of the other Naxalite, a male, gunned down by the security forces was yet to be ascertained, he added.
“The skirmish took place around 7 a.m. in Tekmeta forest under the Farsegarh police station limits when a joint team of C-60 commandos from neighbouring Maharashtra and District Reserve Guard (DRG) from Bijapur was out on an anti-Maoist operation along the inter-State border,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
At least 300 personnel belonging to the Special Operation Squad C-60, and the DRG unit, around 20 in number, had launched the operation along the inter-State border where the national park area committee of Maoists operate, based on specific inputs about the movement of cadres, he said.
When the patrolling team was combing through the deep forest of Tekameta, around 10 km from the Maharashtra border inside Chhattisgarh, a group of armed Naxalites opened indiscriminate fire on security personnel, leading to the gun battle, the IG said. The exchange of fire lasted for 45 minutes, following which Naxalites escaped.
During a search of the spot, bodies of two Naxalites were recovered along with two Self-Loading Rifles (SLR), a country-made rifle, ammunition and a huge cache of Naxalites-related materials, he said.
Besides, a Naxalite identified as Lachhmayya Kuchha Weladi (28), a resident of Farsegad area, was apprehended in an injured condition from the encounter site, he added.
Reinforcement was rushed to the spot and a search operation was still underway in the area, the IG added.
With this encounter, nine Naxalites have been gunned down by the security forces in separate gun battles in the affected Bijapur district over a month, he added.
The injured Naxalite has been shifted to a hospital on the Maharashtra side after apprehending him, said Nilotpal, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli.
Earlier in the day, a Maharashtra police official said the gunfight took place at Aheri in Dhamacha village, close to the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in the morning hours.
The exchange of fire continued for some time and the police later chased the Maoists for around 10 km near the Chhattisgarh border, the official added.
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