Hyderabad/Warangal: In a major blow to the CPI (Maoist) party, at least 10 Maoists including six women were gunned down in an exchange of fire in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh along the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border on Friday morning. One commando from the elite anti-Maoist Greyhound team of Telangana died in the encounter, while two others suffered injuries.
Though the police would not confirm the identities of most of the Maoists, sources said that a
majority of the deceased are suspected to be members of the Telangana State Committee, including Telangana State secretary Hari Bhushan alias Jagan and North Telangana special zone secretary Damodar.
The encounter occurred when a joint team of the Greyhounds and special police personnel from Chhattisgarh were conducting combing operations in the border areas of Telangana-Chhattisgarh in the Pujari Kanker forests. The teams set out at 6.30 am for the combing operation. “The police teams were conducting the combing operation with specific information on a large gathering of Maoists. Our teams spotted the left-wing extremists and asked them to surrender but they opened fire and the police teams retaliated,” a senior police official said.
The encounter reportedly lasted for about two hours, before the police forces took control of the area. A few Maoists are learnt to have escaped from the spot and the police teams are continuing with their combing operations in the deep forests. An alert has been sounded by the police authorities along the State border in the erstwhile districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam.
The deceased were air-lifted in a chopper to Bhadrachalam for post-mortem. The deceased constable was identified as B Susheel Kumar who succumbed to injuries while being airlifted, while two Maoists were identified as Pedagujiri and Sanjeev. “We are yet to identify the remaining bodies. Efforts are being made to transport the bodies to Bhadrachalam for postmortem,” Bhadradri Kothagudem district superintendent of police AK Jha told Telangana Today.
Based on a petition filed by rights activists, the Hyderabad High Court directed the police to conduct the postmortem of the deceased only in the presence of senior doctors and forensic experts besides videographing the entire postmortem process. The bodies will be handed over to the families of the deceased as per the court orders.
Meanwhile, the police said arms and ammunition, including an AK 47, five INSAS, one SLR, one 0.303 rifle, two single bore rifles, a pistol, three claymore mines and six rocket bombs were recovered in the operation. One wireless set, three laptops, cash worth Rs 41,000, live ammunition of different calibre and party literature were also recovered from the spot.