State Editions

Maoists still a challenge for Odisha

| | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar

While the Odisha police have achieved major successes in anti-Maoist operations in recent times, situation remains challenging in several areas of the State, where the ultras are still active.

Accordingly, the State police have been asked to chalk out a proper strategy to handle the Maoist menace in a befitting way, official sources said.

DGP Rajendra Prasad Sharma has been working out an integrated strategy to combat the Red menace, said sources.

Latest analysis on Left Wing Extremists (LWE) activities reveals that mostly borders of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh still pose challenges for the State police as these areas are porous in absence of security forces.

Presence of hardcore guerrillas in cut off area of Malkangiri, border zones of Odisha and Chhattisgarh in Malkangiri, Nuapada and Sunabeda areas remain challenging for the State security forces.

They are active in Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh and Nuapada region and they have erected a Red corridor in the areas connecting to Chhattisgarh.

At least 10 divisions of Maoists are operating inside the State and borders zones of the State, reveals a senior official.

Maoists are active in Kalahandi as they are sheltering in Niyamgiri areas and their movement is seen in these areas and opposing the Vedanta alumina project.

However, they are not able to attract youths to join in their bandwagon as they are totally reluctant to become Red rebel, said sources.

And above all, the Maoists are killing civilians, which is impacting their recruitment badly.

Though in comparison to 2017 in which 17 civilians were killed by the Ultras, it has come down during 2018, in which Maoists have taken lives of at least seven civilians.

Now, it is seen that Maoists are having little connect with the villagers as the rural people do not believe them because more and more civilians are targeted by them.

In fact, during last several years, the civilians were soft target as the police were inactive those days for which large numbers of villagers were slain by the Maoists.

While there is urgent requirement of more deployment of security forces for filling up the vacuum, the Union Government is in no mood to provide extra Jawans for Anti-Maoist Operations, admit officials.

Recently, when Senior Security Advisor to the Ministry of Home Affairs K Vijaya Kumar visited the State and called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the issue was raised, and Kumar promised to inform the MHA in this regard.

However, nothing fruitful has come out, though the State Government is asking for two battalions of Central Armed Forces for last two years.

In the meantime, the State police have chalked out an action plan for the cut off area as the Gurupriya bridge will be open soon for public and the police will have to cover the security vacuum zones in 115 villages, where Maoists have found a safe heaven.