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MLA kidnapping shows split in Odisha Maoists

Is the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Odisha faction-ridden or are the ultras solidly united?

india Updated: Mar 25, 2012 23:41 IST
Priya Ranjan Sahu
Priya Ranjan Sahu
Hindustan Times

Is the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Odisha faction-ridden or are the ultras solidly united?

A section of the bureaucracy and police in the state believes there is an ongoing conflict between the Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC), headed by Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil, and the Andhra Odisha Border Zonal Committee (AOBZC), headed by Ramkrishna.

They attribute it to the recent abductions of the Italians by the OSOC and subsequent alleged kidnapping of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka by the AOBZC.

“The fact that Hikaka was abducted when talks on the Italians’ release were on indicates conflict between the OSOC and the AOBZS,” said a senior officer.

Another intelligence source said the Andhra cadre of the Maoists tried to snub Panda on several instances.

However, another section of police who have been part of anti-Maoist operations differ.

“Despite the presence of 13 battalions of security forces, their impact has not diminished,” said a police officer.

He said there might be differences between different state committees, but those were due to lack of communication, local issues, support to different political parties and other factors.

He cited Hikaka’s abduction as a fallout of the recent zilla parishad elections.

Another officer supporting the ‘unity’ theory said: “Do you believe Panda could have abducted the Italian nationals without the approval of the central committee?”

Gloom descends on MLA’s family

Koraput: A pall of gloom descended on abducted BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka’s family and his Laxmipur constituency in Koraput district.

“My husband never harmed anyone. He has been working for the welfare of tribals and I appeal to the Maoists to free him without causing him any harm,” pleaded his wife, Kaushalaya.

The 37-year-old MLA’s aged parents and two minor sons at his home at Dumuripadar village are also worried.

“Hikaka is always available for tribals. He is always very energetic to mitigate the problems of poor villagers in this backward area,” said Ranjan Das, one of his close associates, speaking about the soft-spoken legislator.

Hikaka had fought the 2009 assembly polls on BJD ticket and won with huge margin. PTI

First Published: Mar 25, 2012 23:39 IST