Chhattisgarh CM hails anti-Naxal operations: 'They were trying to disturb poll process'

He added that his government was open to holding talks with Naxals

Untitled design - 1 Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai (Right) Security personnel during an encounter with Naxalites, in Kanker district | PTI

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai has praised the anti-Naxal operation carried out by the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the BSF personnel in the state on Tuesday, calling it a  "big achievement." 

The operations were held at around 2 pm in Hapatola forest between Binagunda and Koronar villages under Chhotebethiya police station limits based on inputs about the presence of senior cadres of north Bastar division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) Shankar, Lalita, Raju and others. Police said the bodies of 29 Maoists along with a huge cache of weapons, including AK-47, SLR, Insas and .303 rifles, were recovered from the spot.

Shankar and Lalita, both divisional committee members of the north Bastar division of Maoists, are believed to be amongst the deceased.

Adding that the Naxals were trying to disrupt elections in the Bastar region where voting is being held on May 19, Sai said the place where the gunfight took place is near both the Bastar and Kanker Lok Sabha constituencies. "They were attempting to carry out a big incident and their plans have been foiled by the security forces," Mr Sai said. 

"In the past, they have tried to disrupt elections. Our government is trying to bring development in the Naxal-affected areas through the 'Niyad Nellanar' Scheme. Home Minister Amit Shah has also reiterated his desire to put an end to Naxalism. The government want them to join the mainstream," the Chief Minister added.

Sai said the number of casualties might increase over the days since several Naxals were injured. He added that the government was committed to talks with the Naxalities. The chief minister also met the injured security personnel in the hospital and said they recovering and out of danger.

Kanker SP Indira Kalyan Elesela too reiterated that the Naxals were planning to disrupt the election process in Narayanpur and Kanker. 

So far this year, 79 Naxalites have been killed in separate gun battles with security forces in the Bastar region, comprising seven districts, including Kanker. On April 2, as many as 13 Naxalites were killed, while six Maoists were gunned down on March 27 in encounters with security forces in Bijapur district.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the operations, security has been tightened in Odisha's Naxal-affected areas which include Bargarh, Koraput, Malkangir Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Balangir — that share a border with Chhattisgarh. 

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