Around 15 Naxals are believed to have been killed in multiple encounters with security forces in the past four days in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district, a top CRPF official said at Raipur on Wednesday. However, bodies of none of the outlaws have been recovered so far. According to police, a Special Task Force (STF) jawan was also killed while two police personnel were injured during these encounters. “Joint teams of security forces, comprising over 300 personnel were out on anti-naxal operations in the forests of Bijapur (bordering with Sukma district) between May 12 and May 16,” CRPF Special Director General (Central Zone) Kuldiep Singh told PTI on Wednesday.
“At least 15 Maoists were reportedly gunned down in these encounters during the operation. The number of Maoist casualties was based on information provided by locals besides troops involved in the operation,” he said, adding as of now, no body has been recovered.
The SDG also said neither any weapon or any Maoist-related material was recovered during the operation.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Dantewada region) Sundarraj P said these encounters took place on Sunday when joint teams of the STF, the District Reserve Guard (DRG), the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and the district police were carrying out operations in Basaguda and Awapalli area, around 450 km away from the state capital Raipur.
“The skirmishes took place twice on Sunday – first one in the morning and the second one was late in the evening,” the DIG said.
Two police personnel had sustained bullet injuries in the gunfight that took place in the morning whereas an STF jawan was killed in another face-off, he said.
“As per feedback from the ground, we are presuming that 12 to 15 Maoists were killed in both the encounters. However, no body was recovered from the spot as amid heavy exchange of fire, other Maoists managed to drag them inside the forests,” the DIG said.
He said counter-insurgency operations have been intensified ahead of the monsoon season in South Bastar area where overflowing rivers and slushy forest floor hamper work during rains.
According to CRPF and police officials, the operation was launched in Bijapur, based on specific inputs about the location of Maoists following the deadly ambush at Burkapal in Sukma on April 24 in which 25 paramilitary personnel were killed.