Security forces made a surprising discovery after killing two Naxals in an encounter in insurgency-hit Kanker district in Chhattisgarh on Thursday night – the militants were carrying a German-made Heckler & Koch G3 battle rifle used by the United States and Pakistan armies, as well as NATO forces.
“We have recovered one G3 rifle made by America used by the Pakistan army,” DGP DM Awasthi confirmed, cautioning that it was difficult to establish when and how the rifle came to be used by the Naxals.
This is the second time such a sophisticated weapon has been recovered from the hands of the Maoists; the first was after an encounter in Sukma district of the state in May last year.
Sukma district was also where Naxalites carried out a deadly attack on Central Reserve Police Forces (CPRF) in April 2017, in which 25 soldiers were killed and seven injured.
The gun battle that led to the discovery of the rifle in Kanker took place in the forests between Malepara and Murnar villages, in an area that falls under the jurisdiction of the Tadoki Police Station. A District Reserve Guard team was out on patrol when fighting broke out.
In addition to the G3, three other rifles were also recovered – a self-loading rifle and two with calibres of .303 and .315 respectively.
Earlier this year, four Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers were killed in an encounter with Maoists in Kanker district. The gunfight started when Maoists opened fire on the soldiers while they were out during a search operation. Two other personnel were injured in the encounter, which went on for over three hours.
Kanker district is one of seven in the Maoist-hit Bastar region of the state. The Bastar Lok Sabha seat is currently held by the Congress, whose nominee Dipak Baij defeated the BJP’s Baiduram Kashyap by 39,982 votes to claim a reserved parliamentary constituency in the state for the first time.