Friday, July 17, 2009

Left ultras suspected in attack on beat house

;Statesman News Service

BALASORE, 17 JULY: A group of around 50 armed people allegedly ransacked the forest beat houses at Purunapani and Jodachua under the Kuldhia area of Balasore forest division on 16 July.

With the Maoist mayhem which took place in various beat houses in the Simlipal forest in neighbouring Mayurbhanj district a few months ago still fresh in people's minds, it has been speculated that the Leftist rebels had started strengthening their position in the forests of this coastal district.

Whilst the forest officials neither confirmed nor denied the possibility, the district superintendent of police, Mrs Rekha Lohani, denied that it was a Maoist operation.

“We are investigating into the matter. All angles are being taken into consideration. The real facts will come to the fore once the investigation report is available,” she said.

Sources said a mob of around 50 armed people from Mankadapada village, under Kaptipada police station of Mayurbhanj, barged inside the beat house of Purunapani on the afternoon of 16 July and ransacked it.

They also went to Jodachua beat house, around 8 km away, where they destroyed the light point. The mob thrashed two forest guards in the beat house and allegedly kidnapped one of them.

Before leaving the beat house, they reportedly proclaimed that Kuldhia was their next target.

Another rumour currently circulating is that the incident was the outcome of the recent arrest by forest personnel of a father and son duo, Mr Mushu Kisku and Mr Kandira Kisku, who were attempting to carry out farming activities in the Kuldhia sanctuary area. The incident provoked the villagers, who attacked the beat houses in vengeance, some sources informed.

Following the incident, forest and police personnel of both districts rushed to the spot. One platoon of CRPF personnel were deployed by Mayurbhanj police.
The buffer patch between the two districts has been vulnerable to Maoist activities, where there are many sympathizers.

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