Narayanpur, June 15 -- Eight Naxalites and a jawan of the Special Task Force (STF) were killed in an encounter in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district on Saturday, police said.

Two other STF personnel sustained injuries in the incident, they said.

A huge cache of weapons and other materials belonging to Naxalites were recovered from the encounter site, they said.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai said his government is fully committed to eliminating Naxalites, and it will not sit quiet till it achieves the goal.

The gunfight broke out at around 7 am in the forest of Abhujmad, where a joint team of security personnel from four districts - Narayanpur, Kanker, Dantewada and Kondagaon - was out on an anti-Naxalite operation, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range Sundarraj P said.

The operation was launched on June 12 based on information about the presence of cadres belonging to Maad division and PLGA company no. 1 of Maoists in forests of Kutul, Farsebeda and Kodtameta villages under Kohkameta police station area of the district, he said.

Personnel from the state police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and STF, along with the 53rd battalion of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and 135th battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF), were involved in the operation, he said.

The exchange of fire broke out when security personnel were cordoning off the area, followed by intermittent firing till the afternoon in the forests of Kutul, Farsebeda and Kodtameta villages, he said.

After guns fell silent, bodies of eight Naxalites clad in a uniform were recovered from the site along with an Insas rifle, a .303 rifle, a barrel grenade launcher (BGL) and other weapons and Maoist-related materials, the official said.

The identity of the deceased Naxalites was yet to be ascertained, he said.

Three STF constables sustained injuries in the gunfight, and one of them, Nitish Ekka (27), a resident of Jashpur district, succumbed during preliminary treatment at the encounter site, he said.

Injured constables Lekhram Netam (28) and Kailash Netam (33) were evacuated using a helicopter and admitted to a hospital in Raipur, where their condition is said to be out of danger, the IG said.

In a post on his 'X' handle, the chief minister said, "8 Naxalites killed in an encounter with security forces between Farasbeda-Dhurbeda in Narayanpur district. There is also sad news that one STF jawan got martyred, and two other jawans sustained injuries in the encounter."

"The Naxalites are frustrated by the strict action taken against them. Our government is fully committed to eliminating them, and we will not sit quietly until the target is achieved," he said.

As many as 131 Naxalites have been killed in separate encounters with security personnel in Bastar division, comprising Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada and Sukma districts, so far this year, police said. On June 5, six Naxalites were gunned down in an encounter in Narayanpur, while seven Naxalites were killed on the Narayanpur-Bijapur border on May 23.

At least 12 Naxalites died in an encounter in Bijapur on May 10, and 10 cadres, including three women, were neutralised along the border of Narayanpur and Kanker districts on April 30.

On April 16, 29 Naxalites were gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Kanker district, they said.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Millennium Post.