ROURKELA: The desperate attempt by CPI(Maoist) and its splinter outfit, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), to regain foothold in Saranda forest in adjacent Jharkhand is keeping the Rourkela and Keonjhar police on their toes.
Bordering pockets of Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts have bore the brunt of Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) originating from Saranda forest in West Singhbhum of Jharkhand.
Taking advantage of ‘critical security gaps’ in Saranda, movements of both the outfits are on the rise. A few days back, Maoists had set ablaze four tippers, three earth movers and a grader at two construction sites under Gua police limits of Saranda.
In mid-November last year, Maoists at Kolbhanga area under Manoharpur police limits had also torched two tippers engaged in mineral transportation from Chiria mines.
Recently, there was an exchange of fire between the Maoists and the PLFI members under Manoharpur police limits. Both the outfits are trying to resort to extortion again amid indications of rise in mining operations in West Singhbhum, Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts.
Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum SP Michael Raj said stray incidents of arson by the Maoists are desperate attempt to make their presence felt and indulge in extortion. He said after intensified operation, both the outfits are on the run. Security forces in Jharkhand are well prepared not to allow them any room.
Rourkela-based IGP (Western Range) RK Sharma said intelligence network and striking capacity of Odisha police have given the security forces a strategic advantage over the LWEs. He said with continuous surveillance, Odisha police are giving no quarter to the LWEs to operate on border areas of Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts.
In the past, Rourkela police had built strong deterrence against the Maoists. Fifty Maoists have surrendered so far while two Jharkhand-based Maoists were gunned down in November last year at forest areas under Chandiposh police limits.