The police recovered three more bodies on Tuesday, a day after 24 Maoists were killed in an encounter in a forest in Malkangiri district located along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border. The death toll now stands at 27.
Two police constables were also critically injured in the encounter, which took place at the Bejing jungle between Panasput and Ramgarh. One Greyhound (special anti-naxalite force) was also killed. It was a joint operation of the Greyhounds, Odisha Police Special Operation Group and the District Voluntary Force.
The police attacked a Maoist camp located around 10 km from Malkangiri after receiving information about a meeting of insurgents in the area.
Police from both the states noticed Maoists moving inside the forest, following which both sides exchanged fire for more than an hour, killing the naxalites, N. Sambasiva Rao, the director general of police (DGP), Andhra Pradesh, said.
Maoist central committee member Ramakrishna had escaped, but the police did not confirm the news. His son Munna was reportedly killed in the attack.
Gajarla Ravi, a top leader of CPI (Maoist), is also suspected to have been killed in the encounter. However, Ravi's family has called it a "fake encounter" and will file a petition in a court seeking an investigation, the Indian Express reported.
"We suspect that Maoists of Odisha and AP assembled in forests for a plenary in the forests as many weapons were seized from the spot. Some top Maoist leaders were killed and a few most-wanted extremists escaped from the scene. Police can give the exact number of deaths later," Rao said.
Around 50-60 Maoists had gathered at the camp for the meeting. Four AK47 rifles, three self-loading rifles, and some other guns were recovered from the spot.
Previously, in another encounter in September 2013, 13 Maoists were killed.
Meanwhile, five Maoists were arrested from Chattisgarh's Kondagaon district. The police retrieved several weapons from them.