5 suspected Maoists killed in encounter with Odisha police; combing ops on
Five suspected Maoists, including three women, were killed on Wednesday in an encounter with the anti-Maoist force of special operations group of the Odisha police and District Voluntary Force on the borders of Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts.
On the basis of reliable intelligence input, an operation was launched on Kalahandi-Kandhamal border on September 8, said Inspector general of police (anti-Maoist ops) Amitabh Thakur. Two composite teams of SOG and DVF had participated in this operation.
Following heavy firing from the ultras near Sirki village in Belghar area of Kandhamal district at around 11 am today, the teams resorted to retaliatory firing, said an official statement issued by the Odisha police.
“The exchange of fire lasted for around 30 minutes, during which four Maoists were neutralised and a SOG Jawan suffered injuries. More teams of SOG, DVF and CRPF have been sent to the area for combing and search operations,” said Thakur. Five armed weapons have been recovered from the spot. However, the rank of the deceased Maoists is yet to be verified.
On July 23, two more Maoists were killed in an exchange of fire with the anti-Maoist cops in Kandhamal.
Earlier on July 5, five Maoists, including two women, were killed by the security forces in Sirla Reserve forest area under Tumudibandha police station of Kandhamal district.
One of the dead Maoists was Kosa Sodi alias Sukru, a member of the Odisha State Committee of the CPI(Maoist) with a bounty of Rs 20 lakh on his head.
Maoist activities declined considerably in Odisha in 2019 with just 14 incidents of Maoist-linked killings reported in which 19 deaths were reported. Of the 19 deaths, 10 were civilians who were killed by the Maoists over allegations of being a police informer.
In 2019, 13 Maoists had surrendered. But despite the declining Maoist presence, the Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh-Nayagarh (KKBN) division of the CPI-Maoist that operates in the hilly and forested patches of the state has been a matter of concern for police.
Odisha director general of police Abhay recently said with Maoist situation improving in the state and more rebels surrendering due to an aggressive police action, the state has now recommended to the Centre to drop the districts of Angul, Boudh, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Nayagarh from the list of Maoist-affected districts.
Once the MHA excludes these districts, Odisha would have 10 districts under SRE, a scheme that supplements the efforts of the Maoist-affected states by reimbursing the expenditure incurred by them on anti-Maoist activities.