Top Maoist leader among 29 ultras killed in Chhattisgarh encounter

Three security personnel have suffered injuries

Security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh | PTI Security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh | PTI

At least 29 Maoists, including a top leader of the rebel group, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, reports said.

Three security personnel suffered injuries in the fierce gun-battle that comes just three days ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Shankar Rao, the top Maoist leader killed in the operation, had a bounty of Rs 25 lakh on his head.

According to reports, a joint team of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the state's District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on an anti-Naxal operation when the encounter broke out at 2 pm in Hapatola forest between Binagunda and Koronar villages under Chhotebethiya police station limits.

"After the encounter, the area was searched and 29 Naxal dead bodies, along with a huge cache of AK 47 rifles, INSAS/SLR/Carbine/.303 rifles and huge quantities of arms ammunition, were recovered from the spot. Three of the jawans were injured in the encounter and their condition is out of danger," police said.

The three security personnel, who were injured in the gunfight, have been shifted to a hospital for treatment. 

Inspector General of Police (Bastar) P.P. Sundarraj said the operation, which he claimed to be one of the biggest in the region, was launched after information about the presence of senior naxals Shankar, Lalita and Raju. 

A search operation is underway, he said.

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