A Maoist commander, carrying a bounty of Rs 5 lakh, was killed in a fierce encounter with security forces in the forests of Dantewada on Tuesday. The Maoist, identified as Kosa Handa, had over 15 cases registered against him, said Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallava, adding that the gunfight took place around 6 AM on Tuesday in the forests of Neelwaya.
“The body of Maoist commander Kosa Handa, a native of Bastar, was found after the three-hour encounter. Kosa was with the Maoists for 15 years and was a member of Malangir Area Committee and in charge of intelligence,” Pallava said.
The troops recovered a 3 kg IED, a 9mm pistol and a gun from the scene of battle.
Handa was killed days after around a dozen Maoists allegedly abducted two people, including a 15-year-old boy, and murdered them with sharp-edged weapons after branding them as police informers in the neighbouring District Sukma.
Sukma police superintendent KL Dhruv said the Maoists dragged out the two from their homes and took them to a nearby forest. “On Monday, the bodies of the two were recovered from the jungles,” said Dhruv, adding, “…a combing operation in the jungles is going on.”
A second police officer, who did not want to be named, said a Maoist pamphlet recovered along with the bodies claimed the two worked as police informers and were “hence punished”. The brother of one of the two joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) a year ago. The father of the other left his job as an assistant police constable after the Maoists threatened him last year, the officer added.
The two were murdered days after 22 police and paramilitary personnel were killed and at least two dozen others injured in a gunfight with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region on 3 April. The Maoists ambushed the forces after possibly luring them to an area near the Bijapur-Sukma border.
A commando of the CRPF taken captive after the April 3 gunfight was released days later.
The toll from the 3 April gunbattle was the worst for security forces battling Maoists since 2017 when 25 jawans were killed in an attack. Seventeen personnel from a commando patrol were killed in an attack by more than 300 armed Maoists in Chhattisgarh in March last year.