Two Maoists were killed in a firefight with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s North Rajnandgaon on Wednesday, officials said. They said that the two belonged to the ‘vistaar platoon’ of the Maoists, who are looking to set up a new MMC (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) zone along the borders between the three states.
The Indian Express had first reported about the zone in a four-part series, accessing documents that revealed strategies the Maoists were looking to employ. Officials said these were the first two Maoist casualties in the new zone.
“We acted on inputs on presence of the ‘vistaar platoon’. Two Maoists’ bodies have been recovered, as were a pistol, a rifle and other equipment,” Rajnandgaon Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said. “This is the the first instance of bodies being recovered in the Maoist ‘vistaar platoon’. The exchange of fire took place on Wednesday evening and lasted for around 15 minutes. We are trying to identify the bodies.”
The operation came a week after the Union Home Ministry’s special security adviser on left-wing extremism, K Vijay Kumar, chaired an inter-state coordination meeting in connection with the zone. Chhattisgarh’s special director general (anti-Naxal operations) D M Awasthi said that the meeting was held in Rajnandgaon. He said additional director generals (anti-Naxal operations) from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and the concerned officers from the affected districts attended the meeting.
“We held discussions about the new Maoist corridor and ways to counter it,’’ he said.
Officials said the meeting focussed on inter-state coordination and intensive operations. An official said, “Coordination between states has already been very good, but we spoke about furthering that to preempt whatever steps the Maoists want to take.’’
There had been nine exchanges of fire with Maoists so far this year in the area. But there had been no Maoist casualties, as the militants had been “defensive” and concentrating on setting up a cadre base instead of fighting with the forces, officials said.
On Wednesday, the officials said, the Maoists were caught by surprise. “However, we still see exchanges of fire as successes. We have received valuable literature and knowledge through the year,” Awasthi said. Even the documents accessed by The Indian Express were recovered after an encounter in Malaida (North Rajnandgaon), he added.