Malkangiri Naxal Encounter Death Toll Rises

**Malkangiri: ** The death toll rose to 27 on Tuesday after the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police recovered three more dead bodies of Maoists.

The Maoists, including their top leaders, were gunned down in a fierce gun-battle with security forces in Odisha’s Malkangiri district on the border with Andhra Pradesh, giving a major blow to the Naxals.

Two dreaded hardcore Naxals and 8 women Maoists were among the 27 killed during the hour long joint operation of the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh police in the cut-off area of Malkangiri district.

“We had got 24 dead bodies out of which 12 have been identified. The identification process of the others is in process,” said Mitrabhanu Mohapatra, SP, Malkangiri on Monday.

“Two of the identified Naxals are Udaya and Ganesh. There are 6 ADMs, 2 ACMs and the rest are from the protection team. The others are yet to be identified. More than 50 Naxals seem to be there in the operation as we have recovered more than 50 bags during this joint operation,” informed Rahul Dev Sharma, SP, Visakhapatnam.

Top Maoist cadre Ramakrishna alias RK, who was present at the Maoist camp, about 10 km into Malkangiri where at least 50-60 naxals had gathered for a meeting managed to escape.

The Andhra Pradesh Police personnel took a lead with participation from the Greyhounds, a special force of the neighbouring state, in the joint operation with the Odisha Police as the spot was in the cut-off area of Malkangiri.

“We retaliated when they attacked during a combing operation. It will certainly be a setback for the Naxals and they will need time to revamp,” added SP, Visakhapatnam.

A senior commando of the elite anti-Naxal force, Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh was also killed, while another commando was injured in the encounter that took place in the cut-off area of remote Chitrakonda on Andhra-Odisha border.