It’s only a matter of time before Maoist Panda surrenders

Odisha’s top Maoist Sabhyasachi Panda has to surrender. It is a matter of time that Panda is delaying his surrender, feel security experts engaged in anti-Maoist operation in the State.

The CPI(Maoist) Central Committee has already sacked Panda from the party and his area of operation has shrunk. Though he has floated a new party named Odisha Maovadi Party (OMP), he is now reduced to a group leader and is no more a Maoist leader of his earlier stature.

Panda’s area of operation is presently confined to the CPI (Maoist)’s Ghumusar division, which is mostly in Kandhamal, Rayagada and Gajapati districts of Odisha. Though Panda has a sizable support among the tribals in these areas, the police have meanwhile identified all his hideouts in the localities.

Since Panda has earned wrath of his former colleagues, he cannot move to other areas if the security forces attack him in the forests. “Panda is now facing double threat. He is facing threat from the police and also fellow Maoists,” pointed out a senior police officer.

Claiming that Panda has no option than laying down his arms, the officer said he is simply buying time. “We are sure he will surrender if he wants to escape from the Maoists from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattishgarh.

“The police need not kill Panda. He has already created enemies from among the Red rebels,” he said, adding that the CPI(Maoist) feels that the party has earned bad name for Panda’s act of killing Hindu seer Laxamanananda Saraswati and abducting two foreigners.

His biggest indiscipline which has not gone down well among the Maoist leaders was his open letter to Ganapathi, chief of the CPI(Maoist). The Maoists feel that Panda himself made the letter public.

Panda has also been accused of sexual exploitation of women cadres by the top guns of the CPI(Maoist). This has tainted the image of the party at the national level, they feel.

As per the intelligence tips given by Italian national Claudio, Panda had only 20 cadres, including ten women, when the foreigner, along with another Italian, were abducted earlier this year. Most of these cadres were from Odisha and a few of them came from Chhattisgarh.

But after the CPI(Maoist) expelled Panda, all the Chhattisgarhi cadres, including Krishna, Aruna, Magdali and Suresh have deserted him. Even his onetime staunch follower Nikhil went against him. Panda has now been left with 12 cadres and he has been confined to the Ghumsur area only. He has no support left in the Banshadhara, Sambalpur-Deogarh-Sundargarh (SDS) and Kaling Nagar Divisions.

With the security forces intensifying operations in the Ghumsur area, Panda, with diminishing cadre strength, has no option but to surrender, a police officer said.

Panda’s wife Subhasree alias Mili Panda has, meanwhile, urged the State Government to withdraw cases against him. However, experts feel that it would not be possible for the Government to withdraw heinous cases against Panda.

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