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11 CISF men, 4 naxals die in 9-hr attack
Extremists escape with explosives
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Koraput (Orissa), April 13
Two days ahead of the first phase of polling in Orissa, the remote south-eastern district of Koraput stood transformed into a ghost town, following a bloody end to the night-long naxal attack on National Aluminium Company’s bauxite mining site in Daaman Jodi village.

Eleven Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) men lost their lives in the longest-ever naxal operation in the state’s recent history, while four naxal cadres were killed and their bodies recovered.

After preliminary investigations into the attack, the police said they expected a heavier naxal casualty considering the naxals came with stretchers and had injections to treat their injured men during the operation. Left-wing extremists are known to carry back their dead cardes.

Also, it now turns out that there were close to 500 naxals, mostly members of Andhra Orissa Boda Zonal Committee, an arm of CPI (Maosits),who came with the intention of targeting Nalco’s gelatin house, which also stores explosive material.

While the naxals did not succeed in accomplishing their mission, said the police, they managed to hijack Nalco’s truckload of explosive material that had arrived at the plant only yesterday and was still to be unloaded.

They also took with them two AK-47s and one SLR which they looted from the CISF men killed in combat and four Boleros parked in the Nalco plant area.The attackers, however, left both the explosives truck and Boleros four km from the attack site, before they escaped.

The police are concerned about the amount of explosive material the naxals carried back, given the former’s stated intentions to disrupt polling in the state. Investigations are still on to assess the exact damage of the strike, which is the second major strike in Koraput. Earlier in 2004, the naxals, in a more dangerous and planned operation, had attacked the treasury and armoury at the district police headquarters in Koraput. They had then also attacked five police stations, causing heavy casualty and damage.

Yesterday, the naxals attacked five sites simultaneously, the police informed The Tribune today. They first gheraoed the mining site area called the Hill Top, and then fired in groups at Katra gate (entry to the mining site), gelatin house, Nalco plant’s fire station, among other sites.

The extremist cadres were controlling an area within 10 km radius at Daaman Jodi.

Also, they allowed a safe passage to the trapped mine workers, about 270 of them, but not before they had destroyed the mobile phones of everyone to prevent being traced. About 22 CISF men held their nerve through the operation in which two companies of CRPF men were kept from participating as the naxals threatened to blow them up through landmines they had laid along the entry route to the mining site.

Meanwhile, two CISF men, who survived the operation, Samir Singh Jakhar from Rajasthan and D.Nayak from Orissa told The Tribune that two of their colleagues were seriously injured and shifted to Vishakapatnam for treatment. Nine were in a local hospital. DGP Orissa today confirmed the killing of 11 CISF men, although at the Nalco plant site, 10 bodies of CISF men were recovered.

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