MALKANGIRI/BHUBANESWAR: In a fresh operation by Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police, four more Maoists were gunned down in Panasput forest in Malkangiri district on Tuesday morning. This was second strike on the Maoists in two days. On Monday, 24 Red rebels were killed and a Greyhound jawan was martyred in a crossfire.
Confirming the attack, Visakhapatnam SP (Rural) Rahul Dev Sharma said, the encounter took place in the wee hours of Tuesday during the combing operation in the cut-off region. “As per preliminary information, four have been killed. Their bodies are being retrieved,” he told The Express.
Though Sharma did not divulge how many days the operation will continue, he admitted that the Greyhound jawans are still inside the forest and are carrying out combing operation.
Reliable sources said the operation was carried out following intelligence input on presence of top Maoist leader Ramakrishna alias RK and Gajarla Ravi alias Uday, who had escaped during Monday’s strike.
Even as 24 hours have passed since the bodies of 24 Maoists were air lifted to Malkangiri, the police have so far identified 14 bodies. Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said identification of the rest 10 bodies is on.
“We have handed over the body of Murali to his son who is a constable with Vizianagaram police. Now, we have 23 bodies. Ramakrishna’s wife is also coming here to take possession of her son Munna’s body,” he informed.
Senior cops from Visakhapatnam including Sharma are camping at Malkangiri where Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao is expected to arrive on Wednesday. Efforts are on to identify the bodies with the help of families members. Police have declared that the relatives of the Maoists can approach them to take bodies home.
Meanwhile, the security personnel have detained Laikhan Golari, a resident of Jodamba, suspecting him to be a Maoist sympathiser. The locals have, however, vehemently opposed the police action claiming Golari innocent.