Naxal leader killed, four ultras held, at least 20 vehicles torched in Chhattisgarh

Naxals on Tuesday set on fire at least 20 vehicles and machines engaged in mining work in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, police said.

Raipur: A dreaded Naxal commander was killed in a gunfight with police and four ultras were arrested in separate incidents in Chhattisgarh, where the insurgents also set on fire at least 20 vehicles and machines engaged in mining work and torched a passenger bus since yesterday.

The commander, identified only as Podia, was today gunned down by police in Dantewada district, 450km from here, Superintendent of Police Kamlochan Kashyap told PTI.

The encounter took place at around 1 PM between a squad of District Reserve Group (DRG) and rebels at Kesapur village under Tongpal police station limits, he said.

Other rebels managed to escape from the spot, from where a 303 rifle, its nine 'live' rounds, a 315 bore revolver along with its six 'live' cartridges were recovered, he said.

The dreaded Naxal, Podia had been instrumental in executing several deadly attacks in the region, Kashyap said.

With this gun battle, the number of Naxals gunned down in half a dozen encounters in south Bastar this month has reached 15, the police officer said.

Four Naxals, including a woman, were apprehended in Kanker district, about 130km from the state capital.

The ultras, Ramesh Vetti (22), Faguram Mandavi (21), Panchlal Usendi alias Baiga and Sumitra Darro alias Guddi (20), were nabbed by a joint team of Border Security Force (BSF) and district police force yesterday, said Jitendra Singh Meena, Kanker Superintendent of Police.

The arrested rebels admitted their involvement in torching vehicles in Chargaon mines on October 30, he said.

In the same district, Naxals today set on fire at least 20 vehicles?and machines engaged in mining work. These included 13 trucks and 6 Poclain machines (excavators). No one was hurt in the incident, police said.

A group of armed ultras raided the Hahaladdi iron ore mining site under the limits of Durgukondal Police Station this evening. After asking the labourers and drivers to leave the place, they torched at least 20 vehicles and machines engaged in mining work, Meena said.

In Sukma district, insurgents allegedly torched a private bus after asking its passengers to alight.

The bus, heading to Hyderabad from Jagdalpur (Bastar's district headquarter), was stopped by around 50 rebels, most of them armed, in a thickly forested patch near Tahakwada last night. They asked the passengers to get down and then allegedly set it ablaze, a senior police official said.

An anti-landmine vehicle, in which security personnel rushed to the spot to rescue the passengers, came under Naxal fire, but no casualty was reported, he added. 

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