Odisha police seize rifle, ammunition from Maoist hideout in Kandhamal
A joint team of the anti-Maoist police team of the Special Operations Group (SOG) and the District Voluntary Force (DVF) on Monday claimed to have recovered a .303 rifle, INSAS magazine and at least 7 detonators while conducting combing operations in Kandhamal district. This marked one more success in the fight against Maoists in Odisha.
Inspector general of police (anti-Maoist operations) Amitabh Thakur said on Monday that the police team was combing Kumbhaharu village under Gochhapada police station of Kandhamal when the Maoists started heavy firing. The Maoists however took the benefit of dense forests and difficult terrain to escape from the spot. The seizures included a .303 rifle, a hand grenade, a 12 bore country-made gun and INSAS rifle among other ammunition.
Thakur said the seizure comes a week after police seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from a forest near Kulabeda village in Malkangiri district following an exchange of fire with Maoists. An INSAS, 19 rounds of 5.56x39 mm ammunition, 15 rounds of 7.62x45 mm ammunition, one AK-47 magazine and 2 INSAS magazines were recovered from the spot.
There have been at least four seizures of Maoist arms by Odisha police this year. In January, a detonator, two hand grenades, two packets of explosives, three magazine pouches were recovered from the forest near Lengerimunda village under Chakapad Police station of Kandhamal district following an encounter. The same month, several bomb-making devices, explosives, wires and other incriminating articles were recovered by police and BSF jawans from Matikhal forest under Gorasetu region of Malkangiri district.
In February, a huge cache of arms and ammunition, including 6 single barrel muzzle loading guns, 205 pipes for SBML guns, 50 gelatin sticks, 2 claymore mines, 3 tiffin bombs and 3 kilograms of iron splinters were seized from the Atmakunda forest in Narayanpatna area of Koraput district during a search operation.
The same month, a team of Border Security Force (BSF) jawans recovered 60 Gelatin sticks, 50 electric detonators, 5 bundles of flexible wires, 30 small iron pellets and 2.5 kilograms of urea in Pindamali-Bhitarpara forest area in Swabhiman Anchal area of Malkangiri.
Police officials said repeated seizures were a good sign as it leads to reducing the firepower of the rebels. “This year, two Maoists have been killed in an encounter with police. This month, Rabindra, a member of Bolangir-Bargarh-Mahasamund (BBM) divisional committee of Maoists, with ₹5 lakh reward money on him, was killed during an encounter at Jhanj Reserve Forest in Bargarh district. Had Maoists from Chhatisgarh not been coming to Odisha, we would not have any Maoist-related incidents,” said a senior police official.
In Odisha, there are 230 Maoists active, of which around 20 are homegrown.