The message from the central government is clear. Naxalites cannot expect to get away after daring attacks. The government sent a team of senior home ministry and intelligence officials to Orissa and coordinated the launch of a massive search operation to track down Maoists who carried out last night’s attack.
In an unusually detailed statement within hours of the attack Union home minister Shivraj Patil said, “I am confident that the culprits will be nabbed soon and brought to book”. He condemned the Naxal operation and condoled the death of the 13 policemen.
Friday’s attack was the biggest Naxal attack in the state so far and is being followed by a matching police response, a home ministry official indicated. Seventeen people had died in 67 incidents of naxal violence in Orissa last year. “The home ministry is in touch with the Orissa government. The state government has been asked to utilize our forces… for taking immediate and strong action against the culprits,” Patil said.
A high-level team of bureaucrats, senior para-military and intelligence officers led Special Secretary ML Kumawat was also sent to the state to review the situation. "They will also hold detailed discussions with the state government with regard to further action," the union home minister said.
The Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta coordinated movement of central security forces and deployed two IAF choppers to move security forces – including Grey Hound commandos – into the interiors to launch search operations.