NEW DELHI, Nov 15: Indian police killed two Maoist rebels Tuesday in the eastern state of Jharkhand, two days after the guerrillas launched a brazen jail raid in a neighbouring state, a top official said. "The encounter started early in the morning in Jharkhand's Hazaribagh area and after exchanging fire for nearly two hours, the rebels appear to have retreated," said the director general of Jharkhand police, report agencies.
He said firing had ceased for the moment but police had encircled 100 to 150 Maoist rebels in Hazaribagh district's Keredari area. Fourteen of resource-rich Jharkhand's 18 districts have a strong Maoist presence, police say.
Hundreds of rebels attacked a jail in neighbouring Bihar state Sunday and freed 341 jailed Maoists including some top leaders. Five people died in the attack.
The massive jail break has been headline news. "Maoists can strike at free will," said a headline in The Times of India.
Meanwhile: Police exchanged fresh fire Tuesday with Islamic militants holed up in two hotels in revolt-hit Indian Kashmir after having killed four people, officials said.
"Fresh firing has broken out between our men and militants holed up in one of the two hotels," a federal police spokesman said.
"It was a brief encounter. There were no casualties. We have pinpointed the place where the militant was firing from and we are firing back," he said.
All guests and staff at the hotels in Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of Indian Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar, were evacuated late Monday and Tuesday.
Heavily armed rebels believed to number up to three attacked a federal Central Reserve Police Force post in Lal Chowk on Monday, killing two policemen and two civilians.
The firing in Lal Chowk also injured 15 people, including Japanese photo-journalist Takeshi Sakuragi. Police said Sakuragi, shot in the jaw while photographing the gunfight, was in serious condition.
The region's top police officer, Javed Maqdoomi, told reporters that more than 70 people including tourists were evacuated from hotels in the area late Monday.