70 Chhattisgarh cops missing in gunfight with Maoists (Third Lead)

August 4th, 2010 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 4 (IANS) About 70 police personnel were reported missing Wednesday as a “major” gun battle with heavily armed Maoists continued in a forest in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada area, but the state police chief said his men “seem to be safe”.
“The gunfight that began just past 11 a.m. is still on though now its intensity is not as fierce as the first couple of hours. All our jawans seem to be safe but it’s better to wait till the battle ends completely and the forces come out from the forested area,” Director Genral of Police Vishwa Ranjan told IANS.

Ranjan, who is monitoring the gunfight from the police headquarters here, said some 100 policemen came under attack from the Maoists and a 75-member reinforcement sent later was also engaging the rebels.

The gunfight began when Maoists attacked a search team of the state police in a thickly forested area of Gumiapal, close to Kirandul, about 420 km south of capital Raipur, an iron ore mining facility of India’s top iron ore producer NMDC Ltd.

“About 70 police personnel are missing,” a police source here said.

“Additional forces have been rushed to the site. The gun battle is on amid heavy rain. I can’t comment now about casualties or injuries but it’s a major fight,” the police officer told IANS.

A strong contingent of the District Force and Koya Commando comprising special police officers (SPOs) had gone into the forest around 11 a.m. after a tip-off about the presence of a unit headed by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) commander Ganesh Uike, state police spokesperson Rajesh Mishra told reporters.

“Police headquarters is awaiting details about the encounter which is still on. Our brave policemen are giving them (Maoists) a very tough fight,” said Mishra, an inspector general of police.

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