M A I N   N E W S

Maoists kill 15 in Orissa
Tribune News Service & Agencies

Nayagarh/Bhubaneswar, February 16
Maoists yesterday killed 15 persons, including 14 policemen, and took away a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in a planned attack on three police stations, an outpost, a police training school and armoury in Orissa’s Nayagarh district.

Nayagarh SP Rajesh Kumar said while 10 policemen were shot dead by the Maoists at the police training school, a civilian died after being caught in the crossfire at the Daspalla police station.

The two other police casualties occurred when the Maoists, retreating after attacking the Mahipur police outpost shot them dead, the SP said.

A group of nearly 100 Maoists, including women cadres, armed with guns and bombs launched simultaneous attacks at 11:00 pm yesterday.

However, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who came here to assess the situation, later told reporters in Bhubaneswar that the Maoists numbered 500.

They carried out simultaneous attacks on the Nayagarh, Dasapalla and Nuagaon police stations, the Mahipur outpost, the police training school and the district armoury, he said.

Around 60 policemen were outgunned after resisting the attackers for two hours.

Patnaik said the Maoists blasted the Daspalla police station and torched and ransacked the Nayagarh Town and Nuagaon police stations and the Mahipur police station.

The Maoists took away all arms in the district armoury and the police training school in a truck and a hijacked bus. Land mines planted by them while retreating at Majuriapali, near here, injured one person.

Frightened people shut themselves indoors. Even today the streets wore a deserted look as shops remained closed along with several other financial and educational institutions.

This was the first attack in coastal Orissa and a return of the March 2006 attack on a sub-jail in R Udaygiri in Gajapati district and looting of an armoury in Koraput town earlier in February 2004.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, along with home secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra, today air dashed to Nayagarh to assess the situation.

The Chief Minister announced Rs 10 lakh and an additional ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to each to the families of the 13 policemen killed and Rs 2 lakh to that of the civilian.

A job would be provided to a member of the civilian’s family, he said.

Patnaik said he had briefed Union home minister Shivraj Patil on the attack and sought more Central forces, including the elite Greyhounds.

Six hundred personnel of the Special Operations group and the CRPF had launched an operation to track the Maoists, he said.

An unconfirmed report said an encounter was taking place between the Maoists and the police in neighbouring Kandhamal district in Nidhibarena and Gosama forests.

Meanwhile, security at important places across the state, including the state Assembly where the Budget session was in progress and the secretariat building, was beefed up. Vehicles were thoroughly checked in the state capital and adjoining Cuttack city where the police maintained vigil at vital installations and monitored traffic movement.

A massive combing operation was launched to track down the Naxalites, while the police in neighbouring states were also contacted for necessary follow up action.

The Opposition in the Orissa Assembly today demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister in the wake of the killing. They raised the demand as soon as the House assembled for the day to take up Question Hour.

Leader of Opposition J.B. Patnaik demanded Chief Minister’s resignation, saying he had ‘failed’ to protect the lives of the people.

New Delhi (TNS): Six companies of the CRPF have been rushed to Orissa following killings in Nayagarh on Friday.

According to union home ministry sources, Orissa’s border with Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand has been sealed and the Andhra Pradesh government has sent some personnel of its elite anti-Naxal force ‘Greyhounds’ to Orissa.

A high level team of officers from the MHA, para-military forces and other central security agencies has been sent to Orissa to review the situation and hold detailed discussions with the state government with regard to further action.

The team is led by special secretary (internal security) in the ministry of home affairs M.L. Kumawat.

Meanwhile, Union home minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday condemned Naxal killings at Nayagarh. He said the state government had been asked to utilise the Central forces available with them to take immediate and strong action against the culprits.

In a statement here, Patil mourned the death of 13 policemen and a civilian in the incident and conveyed his sympathies to the kin of the deceased and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.

“The Union home ministry is in touch with the Orissa Government. The state government has been asked to utilise our forces, which are already available with them, for taking immediate and strong action against the culprits,” he said.

“Necessary instructions have also been given to the CRPF. Helicopters have been provided to the Orissa government to assist in search operations,” Patil said exuding confidence that the culprits would be nabbed soon.



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