NAGPUR: Three members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) were killed by security forces in Rajnandgoan district of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday night.“Three dreaded Maoists were killed in the forest of Kopenkadka area under Khadgoan police station limits of Manpur subdivision (of Rajnandgoan) at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday (during an operation) by the district forces and the Indo Tibetan Border Force. Three automatic weapons were also recovered,” Rajandangoan district Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said in a statement.The anti-Maoist operation was launched based on the intelligence inputs that the Maoists were camping in Kopenkadka area. The security forces stayed in the forest throughout the night and launched a search operation in the morning.The three Maoists were identified as CPI (Maoist) area committee member Mahesh, area committee member and Palleamadi local operating squad (LOS) commander Rakesh, and Palleamadi LOS deputy commander Ranjit. They were residents of Bastar region and carried a combined reward of ₹13 lakh. The operation was led by the sub-divisional police officer of Manpur, Akash Giripunje; inspector Sonal Gwala; inspector Ajit Ogre; sub-inspector Bharat Bareth and ITBP officers, the SP said.The security forces recovered one AK-47 rifle, one self-loading rifle and one INSAS rifle from the spot. Inspector General of Police of Durg range Deepanshu Kabra said the recovery of the weapons was an “important and major success”.The weapons suggest that the Maoists killed were senior leaders as sophisticated automatic weapons are given only to senior leaders in the CPI (Maoist) hierarchy.