Malkangiri: A day after hundreds of residents in Chitrakonda area resorted to launch a mass protest demanding provision of basic facilities in the Swabhiman Anchal, a jawan was martyred while a top Maoist leader was gunned down during an exchange of fire between security forces and the Left Wing Extremists (LWE) in Bonda ghati area of Malkangiri.\r\n\r\nSouth Western Range DIG Shafeen Ahmed informed that a District Voluntary Force (DVF) jawan named Jayram was martyred while another was injured during the gunfight. The injured jawan has been airlifted to hospital in Vishakhapatnam.\r\n\r\nTo intensify the combing operations, personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) have also been mobilsed in the area. Search operation is underway.\r\n\r\nTop Maoist leader Rakesh Sodhi who carried a cash award of Rs 8 lakh on his head was gunned down by security personnel. Rakesh, a native of\u00a0Ghattapad village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh was a military platoon leader of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of Maoists.\r\n\r\nRakesh was accused in series of violence and attack incidents on police including Manthriam Attack on 8th July 2008 during which 17 SOG Jawans and RI S.K Mishra attained Martyrdom, Janiguda-landline Attack on BSF, 2012 in which 4 BSF personnel including Commandant attained martyrdom.\r\n\r\nSimilarly, he had also allegedly carried out an attack on Khairput market and murdered an SI in 2012. Apart from that, Rakesh was also an accused in attack on CRPF unit in MV 79 Haat in 2007.\r\n\r\n"After recieving input about movement of around 10 Maoists near Dabuguda who had come from Chhattisgarh to carry out violence in the Swabhiman Anchal, the district police led by the SP in cooperation with personnel of Special Operations Group (SOG) and DVF launched a combing operation last night to trace the Naxals, informed DIG Shafeen Ahmed.\r\n\r\n"In the wee hours today during the search operations, we found a camp of the Maoists in Pakanaguda jungle\u00a0around 5 to 6 km away in the dense hilly forests in cut-off Bonda ghati area. After noticing the security personnel, the Naxals initiated heavy firing and we had to retaliate," said the DIG.