Saturday, June 27, 2009

Orissa police clears Maoist road-blockades

June 28th, 2009 - 11:43 am

Bhubaneswar, June 28 (IANS) About 125 villages under the Narayan Patna block of Koraput district, which were cut off from the rest of Orissa by Maoist guerrillas, have been made accessible, police said Sunday.
Of the three roads blocked by the rebels June 16, one road was cleared Saturday. The Maoist guerrillas fell more than 30 trees on the roads disconnecting Narayan Patna block from the district headquarters of Koraput.

“One road has been cleared. We hope to clear the other roads in the next few days,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjeeb Panda told IANS.

“A large number of personnel of the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) began work on the road three days ago and cleared it by Saturday evening,” he said.

The block of villages in Koraput, about 500 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, has a population of over 40,000. Of them, 31,000 are tribals.

The workers were reluctant to clear the tree logs after nine policemen who attempted to clear the roads were killed June 18 by the guerrillas. The policemen were travelling in a jeep near Narayan Patna to clear the roads when the blast occurred. All of them died on the spot.

“Now the region is accessible. Deepak Kumar (district superintendent of police) also visited the site and the block headquarter of Narayan Patna to take stock of the situation after the road was cleared,” Panda said.

The Narayan Patna block of Koraput district is a Maoist stronghold. Hundreds of acres of farm land was forcibly occupied by Maoist supporters from the non-tribals by hoisting red flags.

Hundreds of non-tribals have already left their homes as Maoists unleashed a reign of terror in the area.

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