Four Maoists were killed and a constable was injured in an encounter with police in a remote village in upper Assam's Tinsukia district on Wednesday.
Three AK-47 assault rifles, looted from 19 India Reserve Battalion, in November, 2010 in Dibrugarh district, three Chinese grenades, a large quantity of ammunition, mobile handsets, extortion pads and other documents were recovered from the site at Deopani Borgora village, close to the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
This was the first major encounter involving the Maoists in Assam.
The police, on a tip-off about the presence of a rebel group in the village, launched a precise operation. The Maoists hiding in a house lobbed a grenade and opened fire at the police team. In retaliatory fire the four were killed.
Director-General of Police Jayanto Narayan Choudhury told The Hindu that the slain Maoists were Sadiya area commander of CPI (Maoist) Siddhartha Bargohain, Arup Chetia, Bedanga Gogoi and Rajib Gogoi.
They hailed from different villages in Tinsukia district. Mr. Choudhury said the encounter took place around 10.30 a.m.
Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) L.R. Bisnoi said police had information that the Maoists were recruiting cadres and expanding organisational activities in areas under 24 police stations in the upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dehmaji and Lakhimpur. Over the past one year, 60 Maoists or linkmen have been arrested from these districts.
Police have also received reports that Maoist cadres were making trips to Myanmar with cadres of the Paresh Barua-led faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
The Chinese grenades recovered might have been provided by the ULFA faction.