15 Maoists were killed on Monday in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district. The gunfight took place in the morning in a forest area in south Sukma, around 500 km from Raipur.
Till now 15 bodies have been recovered, and a large amount of firearms has also been seized from the encounter site. An area committee member, who had a bounty of Rs. five lakh, has also been arrested, along with a female Maoist.
Earlier this month, Maoists had released a pamphlet claiming that they lost 247 of their cadres in encounters with security forces over the last two years. Maoist announced Shaheed Diwas starting from 28th July for a week.
This was one of the biggest Maoist operations in the history of Chhattisgarh, where 15 bodies of rebels were recovered in a single incident, state's Special Director General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) D M Awasthi told reporters.
Based on intelligence inputs about locations of Maoist camps in south Sukma, two teams of security forces were sent into the forest from different directions last evening, Mr Awasthi said.
The teams included personnel of the District Reserve Guard, Special Task Force, Central Reserve Police Force and its elite unit Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).
One of the patrolling teams, comprising around 200 personnel of the STF and the DRG, spotted a Maoist camp this morning at the forest in Nalkatong village, located around 500 km from here, following which it started encircling the place, Mr Awasthi said.
A gunbattle took place between Naxals and the patrolling team for about half-an-hour, he said.
Maoists' platoon commander Vanjam Hunga was among the killed, Mr Awasthi said, adding that identities of the other 14 cadres were yet to be ascertained.
In July, eight suspected Maoists, including four women, were killed in an encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. Two INSAS rifles were among the weapons recovered from teh site. Earlier this year, 18 Maoists were killed in two separate encounters in Bijapur district.