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Sep 20, 2009 at 01:12pm IST

Dantewada: 6 CRPF personnel, 23 Naxals killed

Dantewada: Security personnel on Saturday recovered the bodies of six members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)'s elite Commando

Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) Battalion, including an Assistant Commandant, who went missing during Friday's major anti-Naxal operation in the dense forests of Chintagufa and Palachalma in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

State Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan told UNI over phone that combing operations had been stepped up in the entire forest area to flush out the Maoist militants from their hideouts.

DEADLY CHASE: Combing operations had been stepped up in the entire forest area to flush out naxals.

Battalions of State Armed Police and CRPF constables were on the job, he said over phone from Delhi.

The martyred CRPF personnel were identified as Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh, Assistant Commandant Rajesh Chaurasia, Sub-Inspector Sushil Kumar Verma, Head Constable Lalit Kumar and Constables Manohar Lal and Udai Kumar.

The bodies were flown to state capital Raipur by a helicopter in presence of newly-appointed Special DIG Vijay Raman and other senior police officials, the sources said.

Mr Vijay Raman undertook an aerial inspection with Special Assistant Director General of Police Ramvilas Yadav of the spot of Friday's encounter in which 24 Maoists and six CRPF personnel were killed.

CRPF Inspector General of Police S Gill was to reach the site on Saturday, the reports said.

A large cache of explosives has been recovered from the spot.

Earlier, CoBRA battalion's Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh was killed and three other constables sustained bullet injuries as the security personnel launched a massive operation on Thursday night at a Naxal hideout and their arms factory in the forests, acting on intelligence inputs.

DGP Vishwa Ranjan, who rushed to Delhi on Saturday morning to discuss the issue with senior officials there, said three other CRPF constables, who sustained bullet injuries in the long gun battle, were out of danger.

Reiterating that nine Maoist rebels were gunned down in the joint operation of the security forces that lasted more than 12 hours, the DGP said police had recovered eight bodies from the encounter sites.

However, top police sources believed that more than 24 Maoist rebels were killed in the gun battles that took place at half-a-dozen places in the forest area bordering Andhra Pradesh.

The state had sealed its border with Andhra Pradesh since the operation began on Thursday night.

Mr Vijay Raman, who was sent to Chhattisgarh from Delhi only a day before the anti-Naxal operation was launched in this Naxal stronghold, was at present camping at Dantewada to supervise the entire operation, code named as Greyhunt Mission, police said.

The encounter was underway in another area and bodies of six insurgents found there were being taken to Konta, the reports said.

According to reports, police killed 24 Maoists and demolished their camp in the forests of Chintagufa in this district while taking part in the mission. However, six police personnel were also killed in the operation.

Police said a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Andhra Pradesh police were returning to the base after demolishing a camp of insurgents, 12 km from Chintagufa Police Station on Friday.

The team found a group of ultras in the way and started a gun battle killing six rebels while CRPF Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh also lost his life. Three police personnel were among those injured and five were reported missing.

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