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12 Maoists killed in Jharkhand gun battle

Ranchi, June 9 (IANS) Twelve Maoists were killed in a gun battle with security forces in Jharkhand’s Palamu district on Tuesday when the insurgents were on their way to collect levy and threaten local contractors engaged in the bidi business, police said.

Anurag alias ‘doctorji’, a self-styled sub-zonal commander of the Maoists who carried a reward of Rs.10 lakh on his head, was among those killed.

Inspector General of Police (Palamu zone) A. Natrajan said a joint team of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and district police were deployed after receiving information that a group of armed Maoists would cross Bakoria village.

The security forces intercepted the Maoists, who were in two vehicles, and told them to surrender.

Ignoring the order, one vehicle sped away, but the armed Maoists in the second vehicle got down and opened fire at the security personnel.

In the gun battle, 12 Maoists were killed, some were injured, while the rest escaped.

Security forces seized some arms and ammunition, including an INSAS rifle and 300 cartridges, from the spot, Natrajan told IANS over phone.

According to police officials in the Jharkhand capital Ranchi, the operation was launched after receiving information from Maoist outfit Jharkhand Janmukti Parishad.

Additional Director General of Police (Operation) S.N. Pradhan told IANS that security forces have been directed to intensify combing operations against Maoists.

Maoists have a presence in all 24 districts of Jharkhand. There are 17 Maoist outfits active in the state. Most of them demand levy from contractors, businessmen and local officials.

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