Hyderabad: In a major setback to the Maoists, at least 10 left wing extremists including a senior leader of CPI Maoist were killed and dozens were injured in a massive encounter with the police forces of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The incident occurred on Tuesday in the Chintalnaar forest area of Bijapur district on the borders of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Khammam district superintendent of police A V Ranganath said that Greyhoud commandos, personnel from Khammam district police along with CRPF personnel and Chhattisgarh police took part in the operation which was still continuing.
He said that the encounter took place when the forces launched a combing operation on receiving information that a large number of Maoists had gathered there. On spotting the police Maoists opened fire leading to the exchange of fire which continued from 4am to 7am.
One of the killed has been identified as K Raji Reddy, member of Central committee of CPI-Maoist. A resident of Karimnagar district, he carried a reward on his head. He was an accused in two different cases of an attempt to kill two Chief Ministers N Janardhan Reddy and N Chandrababu Naidu.
Ranganath, who rushed to the scene of the incident in a helicopter with food and medicine, said that the dead bodies were being shifted to Bhadrachalam government hospital in Khammam as it was the nearest facility from the scene of the incident. Some weapons including, SLR, Insas, .303 rifles and carbines were recovered from the scene, police said.
The encounter site was only 15km away from Andhra border. It is the same area where the Maoists had carried out an attack in 2011 killing 70 personnel of CRPF.
It has been almost three years since Andhra Pradesh police were involved in a big encounter with Maoists as the left wing ultras were lying low in the state for a long time.
Meanwhile revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, known as a Maoist sympathiser has alleged that today’s incident was not an encounter but a covert operation in which a police insider had killed the Maoists. But he denied that a central committee member was among the killed. He said two squad members Sudhakar alias Ravi and Pushpa were residents of Warangal district.