The Central forces deployed in Orissa in the aftermath of the violence in Kandhamal will be withdrawn in phases from January 15.
A communication from the Union Home Ministry stated that withdrawal of 53 companies of CRPF and Rapid Action Force from Orissa would start in a phased manner from January 15, Home Secretary A P Padhi said in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
While the Central forces were to stay in Orissa till December 31, 2008, on a Supreme Court order, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to the Centre seeking extension of the deployment till January 31, official sources said.
Subsequently, the Chief Minister had demanded deployment of 2,000 personnel in riot-hit Kandhamal till the end of the coming general elections.
Forty companies of Central forces comprising about 4,000 personnel were at present stationed in strife-torn Kandhamal district and the remaining 13 in several other sensitive areas of the state, Padhi said.
In the first phase beginning on January 15, ten companies would be pulled out in consultation with the Orissa police, he said.
Ten more companies would be withdrawn in February and the remainder by the end of March this year, he added.
The Central forces were deployed following violence after the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23 last year.