10 cops fall to Naxal bullets

Guerrillas take away huge cache of arms after 17-hour-long fight

10 cops fall to Naxal bullets

Police sources said there were casualties on the Naxalites’ side too, but the armed guerillas managed to take away their colleagues’ bodies, besides a huge cache of arms, under the cover of darkness in the dense jungle.

The encounter, which began on Sunday at 11 am, continued till the wee hours of Monday.

State DGP Neelmani said a police team comprising Bihar Military Police (BMP), State Auxiliary Police (SAP), and Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) jawans raided a Naxalites’ hideout in Lakhisarai. The 500-odd Naxalites, owing allegiance to the banned outfit CPI (Maoists), retaliated more fiercely with sophisticated weapons.

In the cross-firing, 10 cops were killed.

The seven seriously injured policemen were rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). One constable is still reported to be missing from the encounter site.

ADG (Headquarters) P K Thakur said combing operation at Lakhisarai was on. “We have pressed into service a BMP helicopter besides 400 CRPF jawans to flush out the Maoists,” said Thakur and added the entire operation was being supervised by IG (Operations) at the encounter site. After a large casualty, even the DGP Neelmani on Monday rushed to the spot to take a first-hand information.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the emergency ward of PMCH and met those who were injured in the gunbattle.

He also announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the next kin of those killed, while Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh for those injured in the encounter.

Kidnapped BDO untraced

In the meantime, there was no trace of Manoj Kumar Singh, the Block Development Officer (BDO), who was kidnapped by the Maoists in Sheohar district in north Bihar on Sunday. Singh was abducted while he had gone to Tariyani block for inspection of voters’ I-card for the ensuing Assembly polls.

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