BERHAMPUR: Security has been beefed up in southern districts to prevent violence during the foundation week of CPI (Maoist). On the first day of the week on Saturday, a Maoist camp was busted in Kandhamal.
The security arrangements have been tightened in Kandhamal, Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur districts under the supervision of IG (south-western range) Yashwant Jethwa. The vehicles entering the districts were checked while a close watch was kept on the border areas.
Sources said in the last fortnight, a couple of fire exchanges between police and Maoists took place in Malkangiri and Koraput districts. A dreaded Maoist leader was also killed in an encounter.
On Sunday, Kandhamal SP K Vishal informed that a gun battle took place between police and the Maoists in the forest near Balandapada under Gochapada police limits. “During combing operation, Maoists opened fire indiscriminately at the police patrol party at around 10.30 am. The police retaliated and the fire exchange lasted for half an hour. Though the ultras managed to flee, police recovered three country made pistols, a bag of medicine and tarpaulin,” the SP said.
Maoist posters and literature were found in some places in the region. In Rayagada, posters were found pasted on walls of several school buildings and Anganwadi centres in Panimunda village. The ultras, through the posters, protested the expansion of Vedanta Refinery in Lanjigarh and appealed to the villagers to join their fight against the company.
Similarly in Malkangiri, Maoist posters were found at several places which urged the locals to join their movement.
Maoist activities had witnessed a decline in Gajapati and Kandhamal districts after the arrest of dreaded ultra Sabyasachi Panda. However, Maoists enjoy a presence in deep forest along Gajapati-Kandhamal-Ganjam border.
Last week, a Maoist camp was busted near Gasama forest on Kandhamal-Ganjam border after a gun battle between police and the ultras. Though police managed to seize some Maoist literature from the spot, the extremists managed to flee deep into forest. Jethwa said adequate arrangements have been made to avert any untoward incident and the situation is under control. Police crackdown on Maoist activities in the region would continue, he added.
The Maoist outfit was founded on September 21, 2004 after the merger of CPI (ML), People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Centre of India. The extremists, since then, are observing foundation week from September 21 to 27 every year.