State flaunts number, says Maoists on the run

BHUBANESWAR: Refuting a missive from the Centre that Maoist activities have increased in Odisha alarmingly, the State Government on Monday claimed that on the contrary, the situation has improved.

As many as 27 Maoists have been killed by the security forces during 2011 and till May this year, DGP Manmohan Praharaj said in his letter to Union Home Secretary R K Singh.

The Union Home Ministry had slammed the State Government for its inaction in taming increasing Maoist activities. Countering the Centre, the DGP said 194 Maoists have been arrested while 60 more have surrendered during the period. Besides, large quantities of arms and ammunition, including 157 arms and 280 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), were seized during the period, he said.

Referring to the data given at the meeting of the chief ministers convened by the Centre in New Delhi on April 16, Praharaj said Maoist activities have decreased in Odisha in 2011 compared to 2010. While the overall situation has improved in Malkangiri district during the period, the activities of the Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) have been brought under control in Gajapati and Rayagada districts. Their activities have also drastically come down in Kalinganagar division, including Keonjhar, Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Mayurbhanj districts.

The DGP said their influence in Sambalpur, Deogarh and Sundargarh districts have also come down drastically. Maoist activities have been controlled on Odisha-Jharkhand border while anti-Naxalite campaign has been intensified in Narayanpatna area in Koraput, Kandhamal and areas close to the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border in Nuapada, Bargarh and Balangir districts. He, however, maintained that Maoist activities are still a cause for concern in areas such as Chhattisgarh-Odisha border, Koraput and Kandhamal.

Countering the allegation that SPs are not taking the lead in anti-Maoist campaign in their districts, the DGP said despite a shortage in IPS cadre officers, the district SPs have shown their commitment in anti-Maoist offensive. He said assistance from the Central para-military forces (CPMFs) is also being taken in the fight against the Naxalites.
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