On January 5 earlier this year, Sunasir Mohanty, Umakant Jani and Sangram Kumar Lenka were part of a police team that was combing the vulnerable pockets near Pandirpanga in Kandhamal district. A landmine planted near a culvert went off when the team was crossing the stretch leaving the trio dead.
In March, Sunil Dutt Singh and Sashi Bhusan Rout were defusing a landmine planted by the Maoists along the Lamtaput-Machhkund Road. The duo, part of a bomb disposal squad, lost their lives while a third one Mana Harijan sustained serious injuries when the mine exploded.
In the last one year, Left wing ultras have bled the Odisha Police most. Of 18 policemen, who laid down their lives fighting criminals and Maoists, 14 fell fighting the Red rebels. On Sunday, the State Police remembered the sacrifices of the martyrs with fondness and pride.
Across the country, 574 policemen died on duty, laying down their lives. Among the Maoist-affected states, Chhattisgarh saw 27 policemen attaining martyrdom, Jharkhand 43 and Odisha, 18.
Top police officials gathered at the Reserve Police Ground of Cuttack on the occasion of the 53rd Police Commemoration Day and paid rich tributes to the policemen who sacrificed their lives for the State.
Director-General of Police Prakash Mishra received salute from a ceremonial parade and expressed deep gratitude to the martyrs and their family members.
It was not just to take on the Maoists which cops sacrificed their lives for, there were others who died while discharging their policing duty. Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Narendra Kumar Patel of Sundargarh met with a gory end while executing a non-bailable warrant in Lanjiberna under Rajgangpur police limits on August 11. He came under attack from a group which was opposed to his action and paid with his life.
Similarly, Havildar Ranjan Kumar Sarangi of Puri was defusing explosives which anti-socials had littered in Brahmagiri, a politically volatile area, when the bombs went off. Sarangi succumbed to his grievous injuries.
In Bhubaneswar, Commissioner of Police Sunil Roy received salute from a ceremonial parade to mark the Police Commemoration Day.