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"Will root out Naxal terror from country very soon": Amit Shah commends forces behind Chhattisgarh encounter

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah came out in praise of the joint security forces a day after 29 Naxals were gunned down during an encounter with the Left-wing outlaws in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, saying that Red Terror will soon be rooted out of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Briefing reporters on the fierce exchange of fire that went down on Tuesday, Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai said 29 Naxals were killed while no deaths were reported on the side of the forces, in what he dubbed as one of the most successful anti-Naxal operations in the recent past.

Speaking to ANI on Wednesday, the Union Home Minister, while hailing the forces, said that they were getting more support from the Chhattisgarh police in terms of the hard and actionable intelligence in the ongoing crackdown on Naxal terror.

"Yesterday, the security forces achieved huge success in Chhattisgarh. Ever since Modi-ji became Prime Minister, the BJP government has been waging a campaign against Naxalism and terrorism. The campaign gained further momentum after the coming of the BJP government here. We started setting up camps (of joint security forces) since 2014. After 2019, at least 250 camps have been set up. We are getting more support from the Chhattisgarh Police (in the fight against Naxalites) than before," Shah told ANI.

"Within a span of about three months after the formation of our government in the state, more than 80 Naxalites have been killed in Chhattisgarh, 125 were arrested while more than 150 laid down their arms. I have full confidence that the ongoing crackdown on Naxal terror will continue going forward, and, very soon, the country will be rid of the Naxal threat under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi," the Union Home Minister added.

Meanwhile, casting aspersions on the Chhattisgarh encounter, the Congress claimed on Wednesday that during the previous BJP regime, several innocent villagers had been labelled Naxals and killed.

Former chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, who is also the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, raised doubts over the operation claiming that there had been several 'fake encounters' under the erstwhile BJP regime, adding that innocent villagers were tagged as Naxals and arrested.

He claimed that the police have been threatening villagers as well, adding that during his tenure as CM, too, several Naxals had been killed or had surrendered.

Echoing the refrain, the Congress's state chief Deepak Baij said the government should clarify beyond any reasonable doubt that those killed were all Naxals and not villagers too.

However, dismissing the Congress charges, Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma said those casting aspersions on the operation were also questioning the bravery of the security forces involved in it.

"It is sad to hear former CM Bhupesh Baghel claiming the encounter to be fake. What did he mean? That the security force personnel, who were involved in the operation and receiving treatment in hospitals, are faking their injuries? Were all the weapons recovered from the slain Naxals fake too? All the dead Naxals were clad in their guerilla uniforms. Was that fake too?" Dy CM Sharma said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Bastar Inspector General of Police (IG) P Sundarraj said 71 Naxals have been gunned down to date since January, adding that the fight against the Left-wing ultras was at a 'decisive stage'.

Addressing a press conference here, Sundarraj said Tuesday's encounter in the Binagunda-Koragutta jungles of the Kanker district was one of the most successful operations recorded in the offensive against the Naxals in Chhattisgarh.

"Yesterday, an encounter broke out between security forces and Naxalites at 2 pm, lasting about 4 hours. A joint team of DRG and BSF personnel cordoned off the area and engaged the Naxalites. As many as 29 bodies of Naxals were recovered, of which 15 were women. A huge cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered from the spot," he said.

He informed further that prime facie, one of the dead Naxals was identified as feared commander Shankar while a woman cadre was identified as Lalita.

"As many as 71 Naxals have been gunned down to date since January, this year. The operation marks one of the biggest successes recorded in our continuing crackdown on Naxalites. The fighting against Naxalites has now reached a decisive stage. Our endeavour, going forward, will be to keep going after the Naxals with full force. The erstwhile Naxal strongholds are taking on a new identity and so are the people inhabiting these areas," IG Sundarraja said. 

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