Ranchi: A team of CRPF and state police had ‘an encounter with heavily armed Maoists’ in a forest amidst Koleshwari hills under Rajpur police station on Jharkhand-Bihar border on Tuesday. The gunbattle lasted around half an hour but none of the security personnel or the Maoists was hit, inspector general CRPF Jharkhand sector Rakesh Kumar Mishra said.
The security personnel, Chatra SP SK Jha claimed, were pursuing a Maoist group led by zonal commander Uma Bhokta alias Endalji. “The forces were marching north, towards Bihar, when Maoists sitting in ambush fired a volley over them. The forces retaliated strongly. It forced the rebels to run away to avoid casualty,” Jha said. ASP Chatra Ashwini Kumar, who led the operation, said the Maoists were using automatic firearms. “Several rounds were fired from both sides in the encounter,” he said.
In a search operation launched after guns fell silent, some backpacks full of clothes, police said, were found at the site. “The search operation is on,” he said. According to police records Endalji holds the rank of a zonal commander and looks after Koleshwari zone of CPI (Maoist). Its jurisdiction covers Chatra, Hazaribag and Koderma in Jharkhand and Nawada and some parts of Gaya in Bihar.