70 cops missing amid Chhattisgarh gunfight (Lead)

August 4th, 2010 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 4 (IANS) About 70 police personnel were Wednesday reported missing in Chhattisgarh forests amid a major gunfight between heavily armed Maoists and the security forces in Dantewada area, authorities said.
The gunfight began when Maoists attacked a search party 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 source at the police headquarters here said.

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

A strong contingent of District Force (DF) and Koya Commando comprising of special police officers (SPOs) had gone into the forests around 11 a.m. after police were tipped-off about the presence of a unit headed by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) commander Ganesh Uike in Gumiapal forests, 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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