Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maoists kill 74 securitymen in one year, give govt the jitters

S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar:

The Naxal-affected districts of Orissa have become a death trap for security personnel engaged in anti-Maoist operations.


According to a White Paper released by the Naveen Patnaik government on the law and order situation in the eastern state, the Maoists’ bullets have claimed as many as 74 security personnel in several districts in 2008, compared to only two in the previous year.

The state had witnessed 56 Maoist attacks in 2008. They included a few major attacks like the sensational raid on the police armoury and a training school in Nayagarh town in coastal Nayagarh district, a powerful landmine blast in a village in southern Malkangiri district in which about a dozen securitymen lost their lives although they were travelling in an anti-landmine vehicle, and the ambush of a Greyhound team inside Balimela reservoir in the tribal-dominated Koraput district.

Twenty-two civilians were also killed in Naxal violence in the state in 2008 compared with only 13 the previous year.

The official document admits that the Naxal menace had become a major threat to the safety and security of the state and its people. It conceded that almost half of the districts in the state — 14 out of 30 to be precise — have been affected by the Maoist mayhem.

These districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagara, Nowrangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal in southern Orissa, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in northern Orissa, Sundergarh, Sambalpur and Deogarh in western Orissa and Jajpur and Dhenkanal in the coastal region of the state.

As many as nine of these districts are dominated by tribals.
However, despite the increase in the Naxal violence in the state, Chief Minister Patnaik has expressed confidence that his administration was prepared to handle the situation.
“We are determined to uproot the Maoist menace from the state,” the chief minister, who heads the Home department, said during a debate on the subject in the state Assembly.

DH News Service

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