Vikash Sharma

A fresh exchange of fire between security forces and Maoists was reported at in Tulasi forest range in Odisha’s Malkangiri district on Friday.

This is the second instance of fierce gun battle between the red ultras and security forces reported from the area in the past one week. Three Maoists cadres, including two women cadres, had been killed in an encounter in the earlier exchange of fire three days ago.

As per reports, a team of SOG Jawans and DVF had launched a combing operation after getting inputs regarding the presence and movement of the ultras in the region. On seeing the security forces, the Maoists opened fire on them.

The security forces retaliated by firing back. It is suspected that the Maoists guerrillas again regrouped near the spot where three of their cadres were recently gun downed by the security forces. Around 30 to 40 ultras were present in the camp, sources said.

Meanwhile, the security forces have cordoned off the area and intensified combing operation by deploying additional forces.

Out of the three Maoists, an Area Committee Secretary (ACS) rank cadre, identified as Anil alias Kishore, was killed in the recent exchange of fire with security forces on Tuesday. Kishore carried Rs 5 lakh reward on his head. The other two Maoists who were killed in the exchange of fire on Tuesday were identified as Chinnarao and Sony, who was an Area Committee member (ACM). She was carrying a reward of Rs 4 lakh on her head.

One SLR rifle with three magazines, One INSAS with a magazine, one separate AK magazine, 59 rounds of SLR ammunitions, 21 INSAS ammunitions, Maoist kit bag, walky-talkies, electronic equipment, detonators, IEDs, remote controllers for IEDs, some medicines and Maoist literature were seized from the spot.