JHARKHAND/CHHATTISGARH: Two suspected members of the outlawed Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) were killed in an encounter with the Hazaribagh district police on Thursday night.
TPC is a splinter group of the CPI (Maoist) active in few districts north of state capital Ranchi, including Hazaribagh, Chatra and Kodarma.
Superintendent of police (Hazaribagh), Anup Birthare said the encounter happened at Konai Khurd village under Padma police station limits on Thursday midnight after a joint team of Hazaribagh district police and members of the 22nd battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was rushed to the area following information about a TPC team active in the area to collect levy from stone crusher owners.
“We received information around 11 pm last night that a TPC team had vandalised property to collect levy from crusher owners under Padma police station. A team was rushed to the area. By the time, the TPC team had reached another crusher in Konai Khurd village. When police reached there, the TPC members opened fire. In counter-firing, two TPC members were killed on spot,” Birthare said.
While three of the five-member TPC team, which was riding a motorbike, managed to escape, Birthare said the raiding team recovered one AK 47 and INSAS rifles besides around 200 live ammunition from the two dead ultras, along with two mobile phones and posters and literature of the banned group.
“Both recovered arms were police rifles looted in the past by the ultras,” Birthare said.
While the identity of the two would be ascertained only after verification by their family, Birthare said by the nature of the arms recovered, those killed seem to be ‘highly ranked’.
“Generally commanders who are ranked highly carry rifles such as AK 47 and INSAS. As per the initial intelligence, the two are members of the group led by TPC commander Mani Kant alias Chaudhary,” Birthare said, adding that arrangements are being made for their identification by family members.
At least 15 members of the Hazaribagh district police, with four officers and 11 constables, led the encounter. The director general of police DK Pandey announced a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh for the team.
Besides the award, each member of the encounter team would be given a Rs 5,000 cash award, Birthare said.
One CRPF soldier injured in a separate encounter
According to the Asian News International, one CRPF soldier has been injured in a separate encounter between security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, the CRPF said on Friday.
A team of CRPF soldiers was out on special operations in a village in the district when the encounter with Maoists took place late Thursday night.
In the encounter, one soldier sustained a bullet injury.
He was evacuated by chopper on early Friday Morning and his condition is reportedly stable.