Hyderabad/Raipur, Mar 2: At least 12 Naxalites and a police constable reportedly died in a gunfight between a joint team of Greyhounds and special police personnel on Friday. The Maoist encounter took place in the Pujari Kanker forests under Pamed police station area, around 500 km from Raipur, Bijapur SP Mohit Garg said. Also Read - Unmatched Courage! Chhattisgarh Woman Treks Through Forest For 4 Days & Brings Back Her Cop Husband Abducted by Naxals

He added that a cache of weapons was recovered from the encounter site. The encounter started at around 6:30 AM on Friday. The Maoists were asked to surrender but they opened fire instead, the media reports said. Also Read - Corona Effect: Maoist Leaders in Odisha Announce Ceasefire, Urge State Govt to Help Them With Medicine, Basic Amenities

“It was a joint operation by the Chhattisgarh and Telangana Police. Initial reports indicate ten Maoists were killed in an exchange of fire between them and police at around 6.30 AM in Bijapur district. A clear picture would emerge later,” the Telangana police official told PTI. Also Read - 'Shoot Them Down,' Centre Tells Security Forces After Drones Spotted in Naxal Hotbeds

Greyhounds Constable Sushil Kumar died on the way to Bhadrachalam hospital in Telangana. The officials added that the bodies are being shifted to a nearby hospital for post-mortem and other formalities.

While the identity of the killed Maoists wasn’t immediately known, the officials believe that Hari Bushan, a senior Maoist leader, and Bade Chokka Rao alias Damodar, another senior leader, are suspected to be among those killed in the encounter. In September 2015, Damodar had escaped from an encounter in Warangal.

The security recovered two AK 47s, among other weapons at the encounter area. The encounter was decided to be carried out following a tip-off about a meeting of the Maoists along the Chhattisgarh-Telangana border.

Earlier on February 26, four Naxals including two women were killed in an encounter between security forces and Naxals in Jharkhand’s Palamu district. The operation was carried out by District Reserve Guard (DRG), District Force (DF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and CoBRA battalion.

With agency inputs.