RAIPUR: At least 29 Maoists were killed in the biggest encounter ever between Maoists and security forces in deep forests of Kanker district of Bastar region on Tuesday. The killed Naxals include senior cadres carrying cash bounty of Rs more than 50 lakh.
Kanker SP Kalyan Elesela confirmed to TOI, “Senior Maoist commanders Shankar Rao and Lalita were among those killed and they carried cash bounty of Rs 25 lakh each.Another cadre Vinod Gawde who was active in Rajnandgaon and state bordering regions of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh was also killed in the biggest encounter ever. Gawde carried Rs 10 lakh bounty on his head.”
Many automatic assault weapons were seized including INSAS/ AK 47, SLR, carbine, .303 rifles in large quantity.
Bastar range inspector general of police P Sundarraj said that it was possibly the biggest encounter ever in Bastar.
He said that three security personnel of Border Security Force and District Reserve Guards sustained bullet injuries in the encounter and evacuation process was underway. He said that their condition was stable and out of danger.
“The encounter broke out between Maoists and security forces in forests south of Chotebethiya in Binagunda and Koronar on the periphery of Abujhmadh. Troops of DRG and BSF went out on search operation based on input about presence of senior Naxal leaders,” IG Sundarraj said.
Choppers had flown to the spot to airlift the injured jawans but had to return due to landing problems. Another chopper equipped with night landing was sent to airlift the injured jawans. They were being given primary treatment inside the forest for a while, officials said.
The incident took place about 180 kilometers from district headquarters and 15 kilometers from nearest Chhotebethiya police station. Based on specific inputs about Maoists holding meeting with senior cadres, around 200 BSF and DRG personnel went out for search operation on Tuesday.
There was specific input about presence of senior cadres of divisional committee rank including Lalitha, Shankar, Rajman and one more, officials said adding that the identity of killed Maoists is pending as the forces are yet to return to base.
The latest killing ranges upto 72 Maoists killed in past four months, which is much higher than the number of Maoists killed last year.

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