In a big victory in the fight against Left extremists, 24 Maoists including 8 women were gunned down in the Malkangiri forest area on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border on Monday morning.
Two constables of Greyhounds (an elite anti-Maoist force) were injured in the encounter that occurred during a routine combing operation being jointly carried out by police of both the states at Ramgurha in Malkangiri district of Odisha. The injured constables were shifted for treatment to Visakhapatnam by helicopter, the police official added. One of them later succumbed to injuries.
Mitrabhanu Mohapatra, Superintendent of Police (SP) Malkangiri said, “24 Maoists killed in the joint anti-Maoist operation of both States.”
“We had information that at least 40-50 rebels were holding a meeting in Panasput area. The Greyhound Jawans of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police operation resulted in this huge success,” said SP Mr. Mohapatra.
Sources said Ravi alias Uday and Chalapati, two high-ranking Maoists leaders carrying a reward of Rs. 20 lakh each on their heads, were suspected to be among those killed in the encounter.
However, Odisha Police Director General of Police (DGP) K B Singh confirmed that Maoist leader Udaya was killed in the encounter. “Maoist leader Uday has been killed in the encounter. He was carrying a reward of Rs. 20 lakh on his head. The police was verifying Ramakrishna was present during the exchange of fire,” the DGP said.
The face-off between the security personnel and the outlaws lasted for about an hour. The ultras were said to be resting after a meeting when the encounter took place. Police have recovered four AK-47 rifles from the scene of the encounter.
AP Director General of Andhra Police Nanduri Sambasiva Rao left for Visakhapatnam immediately upon receiving news of the encounter.
The highly successful operation is the second one to have taken place in the Malkangiri district in recent times. In a previois encounter, thirteen Maoists were killed in an encounter with the police in September 2013 in Podia block in Malkangiri district. However, in a positive for the government, the strength of Maoists and their support base in Malkangiri has reduced in the past year. This can be attributed to the surrender of hundreds of Maoist supporters.