Ten Naxalites killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh; second success for security forces in two weeks

Ten Naxalites killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh; second success for security forces in two weeks

Narayanpur/ Raipur | Ten Naxalites including three women were killed in an encounter with security forces on the border of Narayanpur and Kanker districts of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday morning, state police said.

This was a second major blow to the Naxalites within 15 days. The site of Tuesday's encounter was 30 km south of Kalper village in Kanker where 29 Naxalites were killed in a gunfight with security forces on April 16, a senior police official said.

Two of the killed cadres were prima facie identified as Joganna and Vinay alias Ashok, both `divisional committee members' of Maoists, he said.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai said his government was fighting strongly against Naxalism, while deputy CM and home minister Vijay Sharma termed the operation as a major success and also appealed to the Naxalites to come forward for talks and give up the path of violence.

The encounter took place around 6 am in the forest between Tekmeta and Kakur villages in Abhujmad area, a Naxalite stronghold, when a joint team of security personnel was out on an anti-Naxal operation, and lasted for four hours, said Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, Sundarraj P.

The operation was launched by the District Reserve Guard and Special Task Force, both units of the state police, from Narayanpur on Monday night based on inputs about the presence of 'politburo' member Sonu, Joganna, Vinay alias Ashok and other cadres of the north Bastar, Maad and Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) divisions of the Maoists, he said.

After the guns fell silent, a search operation was launched and till evening, the bodies of ten Naxalites including three women had been recovered, he said.

The process of ascertaining identities of the killed Naxalites was underway but two of them were prima facie identified as Gadchiroli division committee members Joganna and Vinay, Sundarraj said.

An AK-47 rifle and one INSAS rifle besides other arms, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the spot, the official said.

As many as 91 Naxalites have been killed and a huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered this year so far in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region which comprises seven districts including Narayanpur and Kanker, he said.

"Security forces have achieved a major success in Abhujmad area in Narayanpur. I salute their courage and bravery. Our government has been fighting strongly against Naxalism which is yielding better results," CM Sai said in a statement.

Deputy CM Sharma congratulated the security personnel for the success. No personnel was harmed during the gunfight, he noted.

"The state government led by Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai wants a solution to this issue through talks. If any Naxalite, or a big or small group wants to talk through video call or a mediator, we are ready and will arrange better rehabilitation for them. We urge them to join the mainstream. We want peace to prevail in Bastar and development to take place there," Sharma said.

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