The brutal murder of ASI Kruparam Majhi in Nuapada district days after the twin hostage drama has shocked the Odisha police.
The frustration with the state government is marked. While it was ready to release Maoists in exchange for the two abducted Italians and a BJD legislator, it was not doing enough for the forces, who are sitting ducks for Maoists, the police feel.
The mood was amply reflected in the statement of the state police director general MM Praharaj on Tuesday. “The Maoists brutally killed Majhi while he was on routine duty,” he pointed out.
“Shooting down Majhi, who had his hands and legs tied, was barbaric,” echoed another policeman on condition of anonymity. “It was done just to send a message to policemen across the state.”
Citing the instance of Ajit Bardhan, a sub-inspector brutally murdered in Sundergarh in 2009, he said Maoists deploy savage methods to instill fear in forces. In 2008, they killed special operations group assistant commandant Pramod Satpathy during the attack on Nayagarh armoury.
On March 21, the day the government began negotiations with the rebel-backed mediators for the Italians’ release, Maoists shot dead a policeman in Malkangiri district.
The government’s decision to facilitate the release of 27 persons in exchange for the hostages had the police up in arms. The state police association had warned they would boycott duty in Maoist areas if the government released hardcore Maoists.
Policemen are of the opinion that if the government does not give them some leeway, it would be very difficult to work in Maoist-infested areas."There are certain dos and don’ts which prevent policemen from going aggressively against the Maoists," said a policeman posted in Nuapada.