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13 Naxalites killed in Chhattisgarh encounter

13 Naxalites killed in Chhattisgarh encounter

Bijapur, April 3 (UNI) At least 13 Naxalites have been killed in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region during an ongoing operation that started a day back following information of key leaders like Papa Rao's presence in the area, sources said on Wednesday morning.
Bastar division police will call it a major milestone if Rao, a prominent leader in the Lendra area, is identified among the deceased, police told the media. Till Tuesday evening 10 bodies were recovered from the encounter site while three more were discovered Wednesday morning, the authorities said. The deceased include two women cadres as well.
The confrontation began Tuesday morning as security forces engaged with the insurgents in Lendra forest area of Bijapur district during an early morning combing operation.
The police said if Papa Rao is among the deceased, it would mark a major success, considering his role as a key member of the Central Naxal Committee and his involvement in significant Naxalite activities.
Seized weapons recovered from the battle site showed a large cache of modern arsenal used by the Naxals in the region.
Sundarraj Pattilingam, Inspector General of Police Bastar Range, providing insights into the ongoing investigation, told the media that details regarding Naxal leaders involvement would be shared once the investigation concludes.
The area, previously under Naxal control, has witnessed intensified search operations by security forces to weed out any remaining insurgents. The Bastar IG said the operation took place following a tip off about the presence of Rao, who carries a bounty of over Rs 40 lakh.
The key operation involved joint participation of the District Reserve Guard, Special Task Force, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).
The encounter comes just days ahead of Lok Sabha elections. The Bastar Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls in the first phase on April 19.
On Tuesday around 6 a.m., the gun battle took place in the jungles of Bastar region a former hotbed of left wing extremism activities.
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