Two Maoist operatives were gunned down in an overnight operation in Madhya Pradesh’s border district of Balaghat on Friday. Savitri, 24, and Shobha, 30, were part of the Darrekasa Dalam and the Malajkhand Dalam, respectively. Both worked as area committee members.
They were killed in the Borevan forest region, about 55 km from the district headquarters.
According to police officials from Balaghat, the two were a part of a group of around 11 Maoists who had come to the villages surrounding Borevan to carry out recruitment work. Inspector-General of Police KP Venkateshwar Rao told The Indian Express: “The first Maoist was shot around midnight while the other one who had gone into hiding in the jungle was shot the next morning around 6:30 am, after around 45 minutes of firing from both sides.”
Balaghat district has been seeing an increase in the movement of Maoists over the past few months. According to police officials, the Left-wing ultras are trying to reclaim the forest regions abutting Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh that were lost by them owing to leadership disputes in the past.
Balaghat Superintendent of Police Abhishek Tiwari said new Maoist recruits are being sent into Balaghat and Mandla district from southern regions, and that the numbers of the ultras in Balaghat have increased. Police sources said around 350 Maoists have been deployed in Balaghat. Now, the headquarters of the police’s Hawk Force has been moved into the district to counter them.
Savitri, from Bastar, and Shobha, from Gadchiroli, were both carrying a bounty of Rs 8 eight lakh each.