Tuesday, June 09, 2009

ORISSA: Yet another strike at will by Naxals

A vehicle set ablaze in Ramgiri outpost.

Express News Service First Published : 09 Jun 2009 03:08:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 09 Jun 2009 11:01:56 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR/JEYPORE: In a brazen display of their supremacy in South Orissa, Naxalites, who blew up Boipariguda police station late on Sunday, swooped on two more towns in simultaneous attacks leaving the region awe-struck.

The three-hour operation, which began at 10 pm on Sunday, saw police stations, outposts and barracks brought down by an army of Naxalites who had branched out in different groups. Even as a group blasted the police station at Boipariguda, another group was busy attacking a police station at Machhkund, 50 km from Jeypore.

At Machhkund, a small town with reservoir and hydel project, the ultras blasted the local police station and the barrack using explosives. Another group descended on Ramgiri, about 22 km from Boipariguda town, where it targeted the police outpost and an ASI’s house.

In all these targets, the police stations were not fortified, nor was there deployment of armed police. Earlier, Machhkund Reservoir used to be manned by 43 APR men. Intelligence reports stating that they could be possible targets prompted the police to withdraw their weapons.

DIG of South Western Range Sanjib Panda, who rushed to the affected areas on Monday, said four units of Special Operation Group (SOG) have been on trail of the radicals.

A military platoon was deployed at Boipariguda to keep a watch.

However, by the time security personnel moved in, the Naxalites had melted in the forest after the mission. Eyewitnesses revealed that heavily armed Naxals, a majority of whom were women cadres conversing in Hindi and Telugu, reached Boipariguda first and then divided into three groups and began what’s called `Operation Red’.

They blocked the Jeypore-Machhkund and Machhkund-Koraput roads before blowing up police stations and barracks. At Machhkund, Naxals also took hostage a police officer and four home guards but released them later.

They left behind posters, which said the attacks were aimed at avenging arrest of their leaders and will be followed by several more in the future.

The attacks, police said, are believed to be the handiwork of a group belonging to Andhra Orissa Border Zone Committee comprising the Machhkund, Bansadhara, Koraput and Jhanjabati dalams under Koraput and Malkangiri divisions of CPI(Maoist). While People’s Liberation Guerilla Army is believed to have participated in the attacks, the cadres were mobilised from Boipariguda, Machhkund, Nandapur, Malkangiri, Potangi, Khairaput, Narayanpatna and Kakrigumma.

`The modus operandi says the cadres belonged mostly to the Andhra-based outfit which is not as cruel as their counterparts in Jharkhand,’ sources said. In all the places, they spared the police personnel since they were unarmed and there was no retaliation.

It is learnt the Maoists were targeting these three areas since 2005 due to which police had removed arms and ammunition from the stations and outposts.

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