Determined to send a stern message that Naxalites cannot expect to get away after daring attacks, the Central Government sent a team of senior home ministry and intelligence officials to Orissa and coordinated a launch of a massive search operation to track down Maoists who carried out the Friday night’s attack. In the attack, 14 people including 13 cops were killed.
“I am confident that the culprits will be nabbed soon and brought to book,” Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said in an unusually detailed statement within hours of the attack that did not just stop at condemning the Naxal operation and condoling the death of the 13 policemen.
Meanwhile, Orissa government has announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the 13 police personnel killed.
“The 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. In 2007, 17 people had died in 67 incidents of Naxal violence in the state.
“The home ministry is in touch with the Orissa government. The state 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 by Special Secretary M.L. Kumawat was also sent to the state to review the situation.
Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta spent a larger part of Saturday coordinating movement of central security forces, deployment of two Indian Air Force choppers to quickly move security forces, including Grey Hound commandos to launch search operations and mount attacks.
The home ministry borrowed the Grey Hound commandos from Andhra Pradesh in view of their excellent track record in anti-naxalite operations.
“The idea is to take very strong action and demonstrate, enough is enough…Naxals cannot keep on conducting attacks and expect to get away,” a senior official said.
Victims’ families lose sole breadwinners
All the cops killed by the Naxals were the sole breadwinners of their families. Constable Srinivas Behera was shot dead by the Naxals at the Nuagaon police station. Behera is survived by his wife Madhismita, two daughters and a son. Sakuntala Mahallik, mother-in-law of Srinivas said, “I don’t know why they have shot my son-in-law four or five times. How will my daughter live her three children.”
Similarly, the family members of Panchu Penthey, the reserve havildar, are unsure of their future. Pachu’s younger brother Digambar told HT, “My brother is survived by his wife and two school-going daughters. He was the only earning member in the family.”