29 Naxals Killed in Chhattisgarh Encounter, Including Top Commander Shankar Rao

In a major anti-Naxal operation, security forces killed 29 Maoists, including top commanders, in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region. The encounter is a significant blow to the Maoist insurgency, highlighting security challenges ahead of elections in Naxal-affected areas.

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29 Naxals Killed in Chhattisgarh Encounter, Including Top Commander Shankar Rao

29 Naxals Killed in Chhattisgarh Encounter, Including Top Commander Shankar Rao

In a major anti-Naxal operation on Tuesday, security forces killed at least 29 maoists, including a prominent maoist leader named Shankar Rao, in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, part of the insurgency-hit Bastar region. The fierce gun battle took place between a joint team of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the state police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Naxals in the Hapatola forest area.

The encounter was launched based on specific intelligence inputs about the presence of a large number of armed Naxals in the area. During the operation, the security forces came under heavy fire from the insurgents, leading to an exchange of gunfire that lasted for over four hours. Three security personnel, including two from the BSF and one from the DRG, were also injured in the clash but are reported to be out of danger.

Among those killed were Shankar Rao and Lalita, both divisional committee members of the CPI (Maoist)'s North Bastar Division who carried rewards of Rs 25 lakh each on their heads. A cache of weapons was recovered from the encounter site, including AK-47 assault rifles, INSAS, SLR, and Carbine 303 rifles.

Why this matters: The encounter is a significant blow to the Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh, which has been a hotbed of left-wing extremism for decades. It comes just days before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the Bastar region on April 19, highlighting the security challenges in conducting polls in Naxal-affected areas.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chhattisgarh Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma hailed the successful operation, with Shah stating that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, India will soon be Naxal-free . "Naxalism is the biggest enemy of development, peace, and the bright future of youth, and the government is determined to free the country from this scourge," Shah said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai described the encounter as a "surgical strike" against the Naxals and congratulated the security forces. According to government records, 79 Maoists have been killed in separate gun battles with security forces in the Bastar region so far this year, the highest tally since 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • Security forces killed 29 maoists, including a prominent maoist leader Shankar Rao, in Chhattisgarh.
  • The encounter lasted over 4 hours, with 3 security personnel injured but out of danger.
  • Weapons like AK-47s, INSAS, and Carbine 303 rifles were recovered from the site.
  • The operation is a significant blow to Maoist insurgency ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
  • Govt. vows to make India Naxal-free, with 79 Maoists killed in Bastar this year.