Three Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed and 15 injured in a gunfight with Maoists on Tuesday along the boundary of the Sukma and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh, The Hindu reported.

The police said that six Maoists were killed in retaliatory firing.

The gunfight took place hours after a Central Reserve Police Force camp was established in the Tekulagudem village in the area. The national flag was hoisted for the first time in the region on Republic Day, January 26, according to The Indian Express.

On Tuesday, a joint team comprising the specialised Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Special Task Force and District Reserve Guard were carrying out anti-Maoist operations in the Jonaguda-Aliguda forests when the Maoists fired on them.

Those killed were identified as constables Deven C, Pawan Kumar and Lambdhar Sinha. While Deven C and Pawan Kumar were from the CoBRA force, Sinha was from battalion 150 of the Central Reserve Police Force.

“All the jawans gave a befitting reply and we have received information of six Maoists cadre getting killed but unfortunately, in this encounter, our three jawans - two CoBRA jawans and one CRPF jawan - were martyred. Fifteen were injured too,” Inspector-General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P was quoted by The Hindu as saying.

The injured security personnel were taken to the Jagdalpur Medical College and two private medical colleges in Raipur. They are out of danger, the inspector general of police said.

This was the first major Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh since the new BJP government assumed power in December.

In April 2021, 23 CRPF personnel were killed in an encounter with Maoists in the same area.

On January 21, Home Minister Amit Shah, at a review meeting in Chhattisgarh, called for eliminating left-wing extremist from the state within three years.