Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Maoists’ escape routes to State being plugged

Express News Service
First Published : 02 Feb 2010 03:59:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 02 Feb 2010 08:38:56 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: With Orissa having emerged as a major bridge for the Maoists to cross over from one area to the other, the Centre has planned to first plug the escape routes before embarking upon the operation in the jungles. Over 60,000 Central forces have taken positions in four Maoist-hit States bordering Orissa to flush the radicals out.

Either as a strategy to deflect the focus or out of desperation to engage the forces elsewhere, the Maoists in the State have become increasingly aggressive by resorting to killings and abductions.

Even as the Centre has started moving security forces ahead of its multi- State coordinated offensive, their activities have become more visible.

Sources said that five battalions of Central forces will be deployed in the border areas of the State to plug the gaps to stop the ultras from sneaking in. While stand-alone operations have already been initiated in certain States, sources said the multi-State coordinated offensive under the guidance of Central forces would begin once the final modalities are completed.

The ultras have killed two persons during the last one week __ Thomas Munda, a CITU activist working in the Kalta iron ore mines, and another person, suspected to be a police informer.

Three CPM workers from Sundargarh district were abducted last month and released with an order to leave the area. The situation in southern districts is equally grave. Incidents of arson or violence involving the Maoists take place every alternate day. Several places in Koraput and Rayagada districts, including Narayanpatna, have become out of bounds for the security forces.

While the Opposition parties have criticised the State Government for adopting a soft approach towards the Maoists, the latter has put the blame on the Centre by alleging that deployment of additional security forces has been delayed.

Explosives units put on alert: The State Government decided to upgrade the security of explosives factories as intelligence inputs suggested that Maoists are planning a major operation ahead of the multi-State joint operation against them.

The situation was reviewed at a high level meeting here on Monday. Sundargarh district, where the activities of the Maoists have increased manifold in the recent past, has two such factories by the Gulf Oil Corporation and Indian Explosives. Besides, there are many explosives’ stores of mining companies in the northern districts for mining purposes.

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