The banned CPI (Maoist), which lost 24 of its members in an exchange of fire with a combined team of Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds and Odisha’s Special Operation Group on Monday in the Bejjing forest area between Panasput and Ramgarh in the Malkangiri district of Odisha, suffered a further loss when four more of its members, including two women, were killed in an exchange of fire with a police team in the same vicinity on Tuesday.
Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police N. Sambasiva Rao confirmed the news stating that a Greyhounds party that came across the group of Maoists while conducting a search operation after Monday’s exchange of fire, was fired upon. The Greyhounds returned the fire killing the four Maoists. Mr. Rao denied that Monday’s encounter was ‘fake’ or that it was a one-sided firing. An exchange of fire had taken place, he asserted.
He visited the house of Greyhounds commando Md. Abubakar who was killed on Monday. He handed over a cheque for Rs. 40 lakh to Abubakar’s parents. The DGP later went to Malkangiri by a helicopter.
‘It was a massacre’
The day also saw Sirisha, wife of CPI (Maoist) party’s top leader Ramakrishna alias RK leaving for Malkangiri to receive the body of her son, Munna, who was killed on Monday.
Revolutionary writers Varavara Rao and Kalyana Rao and family members of some of the Maoists killed or presumed to be killed came to the city from different places and proceeded to Malkangiri. They claimed that it was not an exchange of fire but “massacre of Maoists, who were taking rest.”
Superintendents of Police of Malkangiri and Visakhapatnam Mitrabhanu Mahapatra and Rahul Dev Sharma said two more bodies, those of Munna and Rhino, were identified on Tuesday in addition to the 11 that were identified on Monday.
Mr. Mohapatra confirmed that combing operations were on, as the security forces believe that RK, who reportedly escaped Monday’s attack, is close by. The main strike force was on the retreat and fresh reinforcements were being sent to the area for further combing.
There is also no confirmation on the death of Uday, Chalapathi or his wife Aruna. According to Mr. Mahapatra, none of them was among the 24 killed on Monday.
(With inputs from Sumit Bhattacharjee from Malkangiri)