Security forces got engaged in a heavy exchange of gunfire with Maoists in Budha Pahari area of Jharkhand’s Garhwa district on Wednesday. The police said that the operation was launched following information that top-most Maoist Commander in Bihar-Jharkhand, Arvind Ji, was holed up with his squad deep in the uneven forested region.
COBRA battalions and the district police launched the operation during the day and there was exchange of fire between Maoists and them that continued for nearly half-an-hour.
IG (Operations) M S Bhatia said, “The Maoists exploded landmines and there was heavy exchange of fire. After the first exchange, there was a period of lull. When the forces mounted further operations, there was another exchange of fire. In all, the encounter took place for around an hour in all. So far, no casualty has come to light on either side. Search and combing operations are on.”
The possibility of the forces having inflicted some casualty could not be ruled out, police sources said, adding that things would become clear only after the search operation was complete.
Arvind ji is the topmost leader of Maoists. The terrain is hilly and located on the border of Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh. Budha Pahari is spread over a very large area. In July, the security forces had mounted operations in these areas and tried to corner Arvind Ji and his squad. While several landmines and camps were destroyed, the Maoists had escaped.