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2 security personnel injured in encounter

Raktima Bose


Security men were patrolling in Jhargram

Search on to trace any injured or dead Maoist


Kolkata: Two security personnel sustained bullet injuries and more than one Maoist might have been killed during a seven-hour encounter near Jhargram in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district on Wednesday, the first day of a 48-hour-bandh called by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in five States.

Of the security personnel injured, one is a Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) commando and the other is a sub-inspector with the West Bengal police.

Meanwhile, the bandh called by the Maoists in protest against a host of issues, including the Centre's decision to hike fuel price, resulted in a near-complete shutdown in the forest fringe areas in the district.

According to Inspector-General (Western Range) Zulfiqar Hasan, security personnel were fired upon by a group of Maoists while they were patrolling near Sonamukhi village in the Jhargram sub-division in the early hours.

“The forces retaliated, leading to a long-drawn gunfight that lasted for about seven hours. Two security personnel have received bullet injuries and we are definite that some Maoists have also died or seriously injured during the encounter. No body could be recovered though,” Mr. Hasan told The Hindu.

The condition of sub-inspector Pankaj Gupta, who was shot in leg, was reportedly critical. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Midnapore town.

Both State police and Central Reserve Police Force authorities, however, refused to divulge the name of the injured CoBRA commando.

Pravin Tripathi, Superintendent of Police of Jhargram police district, said that there were 10 to 12 persons in the Maoist group and it was suspected that the group was headed by dreaded Maoist area commander Jayanta.

“We have detained two women from the Sonamukhi village following the incident. We have proof that they were sheltering the rebel group at their homes for the past few days, Mr. Tripathi said.

He added that the forces have launched a search operation in the region to trace any injured or dead Maoist.

Bullet-riddled body

The police recovered a bullet-riddled body from near Brindabanpur village in the region on the day though the police could not ascertain his identity.

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