A top Maoist, Ashish Yadav alias Ashish Da, carrying a reward of Rs 25 lakh, was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Jharkhand’s Gumla district on Sunday afternoon.
Police said that Ashish was a member of the Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee (BJ-SAC) and had been the mastermind behind several operations over the last few years.
The forces continued to maintain their position inside the forest area where the encounter took place, as there was information about presence of more Naxal operatives. Additional forces were also sent in with the help of choppers from Ranchi to assist those already involved in the operation.
Congratulating the CRPF and the district police on the success, Jharkhand Director General of Police D K Pandey said: “This is going to be a turning point in our battle against Maoists.”
Gumla Superintendent of Police Chandan Kumar Jha said that the information about presence of Maoists in the jungles of Boradih on the border of Simdega and Gumla districts was received by the district police. A joint team of the district police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) entered the forest area of Boradih and began closing in on the area where Naxals were holed up.
By afternoon, the forces began closing in on the Maoists and, when challenged, the Maoists opened fire. The forces retaliated in which Ashish Da was killed, the police said. “We are trying to get more details about his involvement both in Jharkhand and also in Bihar, as he was from Jehanabad,” said Jha.
IG (Operations) and Jharkhand police spokesperson M S Bhatia said, “We have recovered three weapons; one INSAS rifle, one SLR and another high calibre rifle, besides another weapon and cartridges. These weapons were, in all probability, looted from the police. His elimination is a major achievement in our fight against Naxals.”
Bhatia added that Ashish had been in the top echelons of Maoist cadres for the past few years. “His exact involvement is being ascertained, but the very fact that he had risen to the position of a member in the BJ-SAC, which is the apex body of Maoists at the state level indicates that he was the think-tank behind various operations, besides things like recruiting and motivating cadres,” he said.