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Chhattisgarh: 29 Naxalites Killed In Encounter With Security Forces In Kanker

This marked the highest number of casualties of Naxalites in a single confrontation in the history of the state's battle against Left Wing Extremism. Since the beginning of 2024, a total of 79 Naxalites have been killed in distinct armed conflicts with security forces in the Bastar region, a stronghold of the Maoist movement.

 
29 Naxals killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh
Photo: 29 Naxals killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh
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A total 29 Naxalites were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district on Tuesday, just days ahead of the commencement of Lok Sabha elections. Naxal-hit Kanker district is scheduled to vote on April 26, the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were heavily stationed in Kanker district to conduct counter-insurgency activities after the clash took place in the forest area of the Chhotebethiya police station limits of the Kanker district on Tuesday.

BSF issues statement on the matter

BSF, in a statement, said that the gunfight took place at around 2 pm in Hapatola forest between Binagunda and Koronar villages under Chhotebethiya police station limits.

A joint team of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the state police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on an anti-Naxal operation when the clash took place.

"Bodies of 18 Maoist cadres were recovered from the encounter spot. Seven AK series rifles and three Light Machine Guns were also recovered from the spot," the statement said.

"One BSF personnel sustained bullet injury on his leg in the gunfight and he is reported to be out of danger," the statement added.

Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P said that the operation was launched based on inputs about the presence of senior cadres of north Bastar division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) Shankar, Lalita, Raju and others.

"Bodies of 29 Maoists along with a huge cache of weapons, including AK-47, SLR, Insas and .303 rifles, were recovered from the spot," the IG said.

The slain Naxalites were yet to be identified, but prima facie it seems senior cadres of the north Bastar division of the CPI (Maoist) were are among them, Sundarraj added.

The death of eight Naxalites was first reported on Tuesday afternoon.

The police said that three security personnel suffered injuries in the fierce gun-battle and a large quantity of weapons was also recovered from the spot.

The wounded security personnel have been sent to a nearby hospital for medical care.

This marked the highest number of casualties of Naxalites in a single confrontation in the history of the state's battle against Left Wing Extremism.

Since the beginning of 2024, a total of 79 Naxalites have been killed in distinct armed conflicts with security forces in the Bastar region, a stronghold of the Maoist movement.

Shah Congratulates Security Personnel

"I congratulate all security personnel for today's successful operation against Naxalites in Chhattisgarh", said Home Minister Amit Shah.

He also said that, "Under leadership of Prime Minister Modi, we are determined to free country from scourge of Naxalism", adding, "Naxalism is biggest enemy of development, peace and bright future of youth."

Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma, who holds the home portfolio, hailed the encounter as a "surgical strike" and a major success, and asserted credit for it goes to brave security personnel.

"It was for the first time on the anti-Naxal front that in a face-to-face fight, security forces were completely dominant over Naxalites and did not give them a chance to recover," Sharma added

He said, "We want talks (with Naxalites)....whether they do it in a group or through representatives. Bastar needs peace. We are committed to this."

The military action took place in the Abhujmaad region, known as a Maoist stronghold, located in the southern part of Kanker district and the northern part of the neighboring Narayanpur district.

"The credit for this successful operation goes to security forces. This has been possible due to the strength and courage of soldiers. We are working under the guidance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji and the leadership of Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai," Sharma said.

Sharma asserted that since the 'double engine' government (BJP in power at the Centre and a state) assumed office in Chhattisgarh, positive developments have occurred in the fight against Naxalism.

New security encampments have been established in the Naxalite stronghold of the Bastar region as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate the threat and approximately 80 Naxalites have been neutralized in separate confrontations with security forces over the past four months, according to Sharma.

He reaffirmed his government's dedication to bringing peace in Bastar and ensuring that the region's inhabitants have access to clean drinking water, electricity, and the benefits of progress.

Polling in the Naxalite-hit Bastar Lok Sabha seat will take place on April 19 in the first phase, while the Kanker constituency, part of the Bastar region, will vote in the second round of general elections on April 26.

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