Hindustan Times (East UP)
Top Maoist commander killed in Chhattisgarh
KOSA HANDA, THE COMMANDER, HAD BEEN AN ACTIVE MAOIST FOR 15 YEARS AND WAS THEIR MALANGIR AREA COMMITTEE MEMBER AND MILITARY INTELLIGENCE IN CHARGE
RAIPUR : A Maoist commander, who carried a reward of ₹5 lakh on his head, was on Tuesday killed in a five-hour firefight with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada amid a spike in violence in the Left-wing insurgency-hit state this month.
Dantewada police superintendent Abhishek Pallava said Kosa Handa, the commander, had been an active Maoist for 15 years and was their Malangir area committee member and military intelligence in charge. “He had more than 15 cases registered against him. A 9 mm pistol, one country-made gun, three 3 kg IED [improvised explosive device], medicines and items of daily use were recovered from the gunbattle scene.”
Handa was killed days after around a dozen Maoists allegedly abducted two people, including a 15-year-old boy, and murdered them with sharpedged weapons after branding them as police informers in the neighbouring Sukma district.
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Sukma police superintendent K L Dhruv said the Maoists dragged out the two from their homes and took them to a nearby forest. “On Monday, the bodies of the two were recovered from the jungles,” said Dhruv. “...a combing operation in the jungles is going on.”
A second police officer, who did not want to be named, said a Maoist pamphlet recovered along with the bodies claimed the two worked as police informers and were “hence punished”. The brother of one of the two joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) a year back. The father of the other left his job as an assistant police constable after the Maoists threatened him last year, the officer added.
The two were murdered days after 22 police and paramilitary personnel were killed and at least two dozen others injured in a gunfight with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region on April 3. The Maoists ambushed the forces after possibly luring them to an area near the BijapurSukma border.
A commando of the CRPF taken captive after the April 3 gunfight was released days later.
The toll from the April 3 gunbattle was the worst for security forces battling Maoists since 2017 when 25 jawans were killed in an attack. Seventeen personnel from a commando patrol were killed in an attack by more than 300 armed Maoists in Chhattisgarh in March last year.