Four women Maoists killed in Odisha encounter, search operations underway
Four women Maoists were killed by a team of Odisha police during an exchange of fire in Narayanpatna, the one-time bastion of the left wing extremists, in Koraput district on Sunday night, officials said, in the second successful action against the rebels in two days.
A joint team of the anti-Maoist Special Operation Group and District Voluntary Force raided Dokri ghat area on specific intelligence inputs that a Maoist camp was being run by Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), one of the four special zonal committees of the rebels, leading to an exchange of fire.
Inspector general of police (anti-Maoist operations) RP Koche said the Maoists in the camp managed to escape after a few hours of the exchange of fire.
“We found three bodies and several ammunitions during the search operation. All the deceased are women and are cadre Maoists. But we are yet to identify the Maoists. The search operation is still on,” inspector general of police (anti-Maoist operations) RP Koche said.
The body of another woman Maoist in uniform was found at the encounter site, officials added.
Officials said police received a tip-off a few days ago about the presence of the Maoists in the Dokri ghat area. However, the Maoists managed to give police the slip.
An area committee member was killed two days ago in an exchange of fire between police and the rebels in Tulsidongar forest area in Malkangiri district.
Narayanpatna was a hub of Maoist activities in 2009-10 when the rebels through its frontal organisation Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh attempted to make it Odisha’s Lalgarh, the area in West Bengal where they unsuccessfully attempted to make a fortress of their own.
Maoist activities in the contiguous districts of Koraput and Malkangiri drastically came down after the joint encounter by Andhra’s Greyhound and Odisha police in October 2016 in which 30 Maoists of the AOBSZC were killed on the Odisha-Andhra border.
During that encounter, AOBSZC chief Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK’s only son Shivaji, an area commander of the cut-off area Local Guerilla Squad, was killed.
The number of Maoist-related incidents in Odisha have come down sharply from 72 in 2015 to 11 this year along with the number of casualties among policemen. No casualties among security personnel have been reported so far this year. And compared to 26 civilian deaths in 2015, this year only one civilian killing has been reported in Odisha.