BSF, Odisha police set up a Company Operating Base (COB) in erstwhile cut-off area
The Border Security Force and the Odisha police have set up a Company Operating Base (COB) at Gurasethu, dubbed “ideological headquarter” of outlawed CPI (Maoist), in Swabhiman Anchal along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border.
This is considered an important milestone in the fight against the Left wing extremists.
The BSF and the Odisha police personnel unfurled the tricolour in front of the CPI (Maoist)’s “Martyr Pillar” at Gurasethu in Malkangiri district. Experts said security forces managed to reclaim the area from the clutches of the CPI (Maoist).
Gurasethu was once known to be the heartland of the CPI (Maoist). The ultras used to conduct training and other activities without any fear, as the place was not easily accessible to the forces. Security personnel had to trek to reach the place.
“In a significant development, the Odisha police and the BSF solidly advanced up to Gurasetu in Swabhiman Anchal and the BSF will now maintain a camp there. This happened to be the ideological headquarters of the Maoists until recently,” tweeted Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy congratulating the security forces.
DGP Abhay said a team of the BSF, the Special Operation Group and the India Reserve Battalion with the DIG of the BSF and the Malkangiri SP reached Gurasethu on Saturday to establish the COB for the BSF. “With this new BSF COB, people of the area will feel more secure,” he said.
“This is another milestone for the BSF with personnel unfurling the tricolour in the heart of Swabhimaan Anchal. The joint efforts of the BSF and the Odisha police will bring smile to the people and they will soon taste the fruits of development,” said BSF commandant G. Sukumar Sarangi.
Swabhiman Anchal, erstwhile cut-off area in Odisha, has been the bastion of the CPI (Maoist). After the construction of major irrigation project Machhkund (1960s) and Balimela (1980s), this area inhabited by 20,000 remained detached from Malkangiri till the Gurupriya river bridge was constructed in 2018.
Malkangiri has been one of the worst-affected districts. 332 Maoist incidents were recorded between 2008 and 2020, claiming the lives of 101 civilians and 77 security personnel. The Cut-Off area itself witnessed the killing of 25 civilians and 49 security personnel, including five officers of the BSF.
Due to opposition from the LWEs, the bridge could not be constructed. But, critical infrastructure was created following deployment of the BSF personnel. After construction of the bridge, the forces gradually started moving in and so did the administration.
Security forces first established their presence at Janatapai, which is close to Ruma river. The road further leads to Papermetla. In 2019, forces moved to Hantalguda, a strategic location. Once Hantalguda was occupied, the forces started moving further to Jodambo, which marked the beginning of the project to lay roads in Swabhiman Anchal in the Ghats.
The BSF personnel now advanced seven kilometres further north to Gurasethu, closer to the Andhra Pradesh border. Viskhapatnam district is on the other side.
There are five COBs in Swabhiman Anchal — Badapadar, Janatapai, Hantalguda, Jodambo and Gurasethu. The last destination in Swabhiman Anchal is Jantri, which is about 40 km from Gurasethu