Two Maoists, known to be close aides of the outfit’s central committee member Anal Da, were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Jharkhand’s Seraikela-Kharsawan district’s Baruda forest on Friday morning, the police said. Several other members of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) were suspected to have suffered injuries in the operation, they said.

A joint team of CRPF’s CoBRA, Jharkhand Jaguar and the state police, acting on a tip-off over the movement of Maoists, conducted raids at the tri-junction of Seraikela-Kharsawan, Chaibasa and Khunti districts and destroyed camps of Maoists, besides engaging in a gun fight with them.

“We had information that Maoist Central Committee Member Anal Da, who is carrying a reward of ? 1 crore on his head, has come to a camp at the tri-junction with 30-35 members to plan and execute some major attack on security forces,” Jharkhand police spokesperson and IG-Operations Amol V Holmkar said.

He added, “The Maoists had started indiscriminate firing as soon as they spotted security forces approaching their camp. The joint team of security personnel retaliated, and the gun fire exchange lasted for about one hour.”

Bodies of two Maoists, identified as section commanders Kali Munda and Reela Mala, were recovered from the spot, while it is suspected that several others were injured, Mr Holmkar stated.

Security forces have cordoned off the entire area and a search operation was still underway, he said, adding that an SLR Rifle, huge quantity of ammunition, wireless sets, tents and other goods, besides live cartridges, were recovered from the area.

The senior officer also said that Anal Da’s team had long been terrorising people, causing harm to them and also the police force.

“This is the first time his squad suffered significant damage. This is a huge success for the Jharkhand Police, which had been running sustained campaigns against Naxals,” a statement issued by the force said.

Earlier this week, a Maoist carrying ? 5 lakh reward on his head and another Tritiya Sammelan Prastuti Committee (TSPC) rebel with sophisticated American weapon were arrested from Jharkhand’s Garhwa and Chatra districts respectively.