Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and two others injured Thursday in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Kanker district.
The incident comes a week before the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state on April 11.
A joint team of BSF’s 114th battalion and the district force of police were out on an ‘area domination’ operation around noon in a dense forest near Mahla village when they were attacked, Deputy Inspector General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj P told PTI.
The deceased were identified as BSF’s Assistant Sub-Inspector Bipul Borah, who hailed from Assam, constables Silam Ramkrishna from Andhra Pradesh, Ishrar Khan from Jharkhand, and Tumeshwar from Dongargaon in Chhattisgarh, he said.
BSF’s Assistant Commandant Gopu Kumar and Inspector Gopal Rang sustained injuries in the exchange of fire.
Reinforcement was rushed to the spot, Sundarraj said, adding a search operation was underway in the area.
According to a BSF official, the patrolling team, comprising 42 personnel of the BSF, had launched the operation from Mahla camp of the ‘A’ company of the BSF 114th Battalion, around 250 km from Raipur.
When the security men were advancing through a forest near Mahla, a large group of Naxals opened fire, he said.
After a brief gun-battle, the ultras fled the spot, the official said.
The bodies and the injured personnel were brought to the Mahla camp and airlifted to Raipur, he said.
Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel expressed grief over the death of the BSF personnel.
Baghel directed officials to provide all necessary medical facilities to the injured and prayed for their speedy recovery, an official statement said.
Polling in the Kanker parliamentary constituency will be held on April 18, the second phase of elections.