A 32-year-old jawan of COBRA battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was killed in an encounter with the Maoists deep in a forest under Peertand police station area of Giridih district Friday morning.
The police said that the Maoists too have suffered gunshot injuries and one of them could have been killed. Search operations were continuing in the area.
According to the police, the jawan, identified as Bolen Harijan, a resident of Assam, was hit by a bullet from the Maoists during an operation around 6.30 am. He was rushed to the district hospital but succumbed.
Police officials said that the operation had been launched in the Patthalgada forest – located between Jamua and Hetalo villages – on Thursday night following information that a Maoist’ dasta (group) was moving in the area.
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“The forest was cordoned off in the night and we kept closing in on them. In the morning, when the Maoists were engaged, they retaliated. In the ensuing exchange of fire, Bolen sustained the bullet injury. Our forces were moving up the hill, where the Maoists were entrenched. However, some of the Maoists also sustained gun-shot injuries and were seen falling off from their perch. Our forces also spotted blood stains and trails. We have not yet recovered the body, but we are suspecting that at least one of the Maoists was killed, while four of them were injured,” said Inspector General (Operations) and Jharkhand police spokesperson, M S Bhatia.
Bhatia added that at least five teams – three COBRA teams and one team each of CRPF and the local police, comprising nearly 100 men – were involved in the joint operation.
The police said that they had information about presence of Ajay Mahto, Maoist Zonal Commander of Peertand, besides Vivek ji and Amal. “They have been active in the area since long. Fresh re-inforcements have been sent and search operations are on,” said Bhatia.
Along with CRPF, the Jharkhand police, among other areas, have launched an offensive against the Maoists in Giridih, including the areas around Parasnath, with the aim to make the area conducive for tourism.