Wednesday May 22, 2024

29 Naxals killed in gunfight with govt forces in India's Chhattisgarh

Published : 17 Apr 2024, 02:18

  DF News Desk
Indian paramilitary troopers. File Photo: Xinhua.

At least 29 Naxals, including a top commander, were killed and three members of government forces wounded Tuesday in a fierce gunfight in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, reported Xinhua, quoting police.

The gunfight between Naxals and joint contingents of the police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) broke out in Chhotebethiya area of Kanker district, about 264 km south of Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh.

According to the police, the gunfight broke out after the contingents of the police cordoned off the forest area on specific intelligence information suggesting the presence of the Naxals.

"The Naxal death toll in today's gunfight has risen to 29," a police official said. "The slain Naxals include a senior commander - Shankar Rao, who had a bounty of 2.5 million Indian rupees on his head."

The police official said they recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition from the spot, including AK-47, INSAS and LMG rifles.

While fighting these Naxals, three government forces personnel, two BSF men and a policeman, were also wounded and they have been removed to the hospital, the police said, adding the injured were in a stable condition.

Tuesday's killings are seen as a massive setback to the Naxals in the state ahead of India's general elections, which are scheduled to begin from April 19 to June 1 in seven staggered phases.

Naxals usually call for boycotting elections in their dominated areas.

Reports said since the beginning of this year, government forces have killed 50 Naxals in different operations. Apart from this, six government forces personnel and 18 civilians were also killed in the Naxal violence.

Currently, Naxals are active across the central and eastern parts of India.

India's former prime minister Manmohan Singh once termed the Naxalite movement as India's "greatest internal security challenge".

The insurgency reportedly has claimed hundreds of lives besides rendering thousands of poor inhabitants homeless.