8 killed in naxal encounter

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Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Feb 18 (UNI) Eight people, including five CRPF jawans and three Maoist naxalites, were killed in an encounter in the forests of Tedkal hills under Mirtur police station area in Bijapur district in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh today.

Police said the security personnel, who were patrolling the area, had challenged the rebels in an encounter, which began around 1315 hours this afternoon. The fierce encounter left five security personnel and three rebels dead, they added.

Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) R K Vij confirmed the encounter on Tedkal hills saying that additional forces had been rushed to the spot. He said the victims were yet to be identified.

Naxalites had stepped up violence in the tribal Bastar region of Chhattisgarh since June 2005, after the locals launched an anti-naxalite movement ''Salwa Judum'' to create awareness among the people against the rebels. As the movement spread from one village to another, the rebels retaliated with violence, killing more than 800 people, including about 250 security personnel in the last three years.

Besides, the hostilities forced more than 50,000 tribals to desert their villages and take shelter in relief camps set up by the state government in south Bastar.

UNI XC JJ SP SP DS1628

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