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Kanker encounter huge blow to Maoist wing handling outfit’s supply network: Police

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KANKER, April 17: Police on Wednesday claimed the anti-insurgency operation in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district has dealt a huge blow to Maoists’ north Bastar division committee which handles illegal money collection and supply network of the outlawed outfit.

A lot more still needs to be done and the police are heading in the right direction, Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P told PTI.

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Security personnel gunned down 29 Naxalites, including some senior cadres, in Kanker on Tuesday, in the biggest encounter ever in the state which has been facing Naxal menace since the past three decades.

A huge cache of weapons, including AK-47, SLR, Insas and .303 rifles, were recovered from the spot, police said.

The action came ahead of the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh scheduled on April 19.

Those killed included Shankar Rao and Lalita, both divisional committee members of the outlawed CPI (Maoist), who were carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh each on their heads, police said.

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The encounter took place at the trijunction of Kanker, Narayanpur (in Chhattisgarh) and Gadchiroli (adjoining Maharashtra) which was considered as safe haven for the north Bastar division committee of Maoists, Inspector General of Police Sundarraj P said.

There are 70-80 cadres in the north Bastar division committee of Maoists which has four area committees – Raoghat, Partapur, Kuve and Kisodo, he said.

Various division committees of Maoists handle different tasks. The north Bastar division committee handles illegal “levy collection” (extortion from contractors and other people) and logistical supply network, the official said.

“The encounter on Tuesday has inflicted a heavy blow to the north Bastar division committee. However, there is a lot more left to be done to completely eliminate it and we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

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The process to identity the killed Naxalites was underway. So far, Shankar Rao and Lalita have been identified, he said, adding that 15 women were among the killed Naxalites.

Prima facie, it seems most of the killed Naxalites belonged to Partapur area committee, he said.

Asked about security arrangements for the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency where polling will be held on April 19, the IG said during the last year’s assembly elections, Naxalites tried to indulge in violent activities but proper security arrangements foiled their bids.

“Even at this time of general elections, we have made adequate security arrangements with the available resources and we hope that elections in Bastar and Kanker (scheduled on April 26) will be conducted peacefully,” he added. (PTI)





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