Over 800 policemen took part in Abhujmaad encounter; myth of Maoist stronghold shattered, says official

As many as 240 personnel of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and 590 personnel of Special Task Force (STF), the state's elite anti-Naxal forces, set out from different camps in Narayanpur and Kanker districts, he said.
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 16:45 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 16:45 IST

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Narayanpur: A combined team of more than 800 police personnel trudged for 60 km through the dense forests before Tuesday's encounter on the border of Narayanpur and Kanker districts of Chhattisgarh in which ten Naxalites were killed, an official said.

The operation, which came close on the heels of another encounter in the same area last month in which 29 Naxalites were killed, has shattered the myth that Abhujmaad was an impregnable stronghold of the extremists, said the senior official.

Security forces returned to their base on Wednesday after the latest operation, carrying the bodies of Naxalites, most of them belonging to the Gadchiroli division of the Maoists.

The "Maad Bachao Abhiyan" (Operation Save Abhujmaad) was launched on the night of April 28 based on inputs about the presence of senior Naxalites in the area bordering on Maharashtra, said Sundarraj P, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range.

As many as 240 personnel of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and 590 personnel of Special Task Force (STF), the state's elite anti-Naxal forces, set out from different camps in Narayanpur and Kanker districts, he said.

The teams had covered a distance of 60 km on foot through the arduous terrain before they came upon a camp of Naxalites around 4 am on Tuesday while cordoning off the forest near Tekmeta-Kakur villages, the IG said.

The Naxalites opened indiscriminate fire, prompting a retaliation, he said, adding that the exchange of fire continued intermittently for the next 16 hours.

The bodies of ten Naxalites including three women were recovered later, Sundarraj said.

Most of them were from the Gadchiroli division of the Maoists, with links to the "press team" (which handles publicity), and hailed from Telangana, Maharashtra and Bastar in Chhattisgarh, he said.

The DRG, STF and Border Security Force were now carrying out "area domination operations" in the region, the IG added.

Eight of the ten dead cadres have so far been identified, and they were collectively carrying a reward of Rs 63 lakh on their heads, he said.

Among the slain Naxalites were Joganna alias Ghissu (66), a native of Telangana who was a member of the Maoists' special zonal committee, divisional committee members Mallesh alias Unga Madkam (41) and Vinay alias Ravi (55) who hailed from Telangana, and Sangita Doge Atram (36), area committee member and Joganna's wife, the police official said.

"At least 196 cases were registered against Joganna in Maharashtra. He was carrying a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head. Mallesh had 43 cases and Vinay eight cases registered against them in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, and the two were carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh each on their heads", Sundarraj said.

Sangita was carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh on her head, he added.

One AK-47 rifle with a magazine and 26 live rounds, one INSAS rifle, two .303 rifles, one .315 rifle, one 12 bore rifle with seven live rounds, four muzzle-loading guns, one Barrel Grenade Launcher with four live grenade shells and other ammunition and explosives were recovered from the spot, the IG said.

Besides, a computer, printer, satellite communication device, JCB excavator, solar plates, commodities of daily use, utensils and Maoist literature were also recovered from the spot, he said.

"This operation not only dealt a significant blow to Naxalite activities in Chhattisgarh but also thwarted their plans of expansion into neighbouring territories including Maharashtra", the IG said.

The successful operation underscores the effectiveness of technical inputs, strategic planning and coordination among security forces, he added.

"Security forces have shattered the myth of Maad (Abhujmaad) being an impregnable sanctuary for Naxalites and dealt a severe blow to their top leadership", Sundarraj said.

The IG also claimed that this success has instilled a sense of fear in the upper tier of Naxal leadership, and with security forces closing in on their strongholds, distrust in Naxal ranks was learnt to be at all-time high as senior members were growing suspicious of their juniors and local sympathizers.

Naxalites should join the mainstream by giving up violence, he appealed.

Published 01 May 2024, 16:45 IST

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