4 Maoists including two women shot dead in encounter in Odisha’s Kandhamal
This is the first killing of Maoists by police in Odisha this year.Updated: Jul 05, 2020 20:43 IST
A police team shot dead at least four Maoists including two women in an encounter in a forest in Odisha’s Kandhamal district early Sunday morning.
Inspector general of police (anti-Maoist operations) Amitabh Thakur said a team of Special Operation Group and District Voluntary Force policemen of Kandhamal district went on a combing operation at Sirla forest near Tumudibandh area of Kandhamal district on early Sunday morning ran into the Maoists in the forest. In the encounter that followed, the police killed four Maoists and seized a huge cache of weapons.
Police launched a search operation late Saturday night near Sirla reserve forest area after a tip off about presence of armed Maoists.
“While the search operation was going on, the police team saw a large group of Maoists camping in the jungle area. Police party tried to approach them but they came under heavy fire from the Maoists. When the police asked them to surrender they continued to fire and also lobbed grenades. When police fired back, the Maoists escaped taking cover of dense forest,” said Thakur.
There were around 35-40 armed Maoists in the camp when the encounter started, he said.
When the firing stopped, the police found the bodies of four Maoists of Bansadhara Ghumsar Nagabali division which is active in that area. Their identities are being verified. Police also seized six sophisticated weapons from the area including three SLR rifles, one INSAS rifle along with magazines.
This is the first killing of Maoists by police in Odisha this year. In August last year, police in Malkangiri district had killed Rakesh Sodhi, a platoon commander with a bounty of Rs 8 lakh on his head during an encounter. A policeman was killed and another critically injured in that encounter.
On Thursday, security forces had busted a Maoist camp inside a forest in Kandhamal district and seized explosives and other materials from there. The SOG personnel seized over 15 kilogram of explosives, 28 detonators and tiffin carriers meant to be used as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the camp located near Samarbandh village under Phiringia police station area.
Other articles such as bags, shoes, documents and Maoist literature were also found in the camp. The Maoists, however, had fled from the camp before the security personnel could reach there.
For the last six months, Maoists are on the backfoot in Andhra-Odisha border areas in Koraput and Malkangiri districts after building of a bridge that connects the Swabhiman Anchal (the area qhich used to be cut-off from the mainland and acted as safe havens for the Maoists) to the mainland of Malkangiri. As their influence wanes on southern Odisha borders, they are trying to intensify their activities on Ganjam-Kandhamal-Kalahandi borders.