Six heavily armed Maoist rebels were killed Wednesday in a jungle gun battle with police in eastern India, an officer said.
Police said they opened fire after being attacked during a search on Wednesday morning in the Maoist stronghold of Latehar district in Jharkhand state.
“The area is covered by dense forests and it has been a den for the insurgents for the last 15 years or so,” said police superintendent Anoop Birtharay.
“The encounter lasted 45-50 minutes. We have recovered six bodies of Maoists who were wearing their typical black army uniforms,” he told AFP by phone.
“We have also seized six weapons and some 500 rounds of ammunition,” he added.
The Maoist rebels have been fighting for decades to overthrow the government, but the conflict has taken on a new intensity since the election of right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
In October Indian police killed 24 rebels, known locally as Naxals, after an ambush near the border between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states.
The guerrillas are most active in the so-called “Red Corridor” which passes through swathes of central and eastern India.
Government critics say attempts to end the revolt through tough security offensives are doomed to fail, and the solution is better governance and development of the region.