Odisha Police are on a high after inflicting the heaviest casuality on the CPI (Maoist) in the State in the forest area near Seelakota village in Malkangiri district in the early hours of Saturday, in which 13 Maoists, including a woman, were killed. They were among the estimated 60 to 70 armed cadre of the banned party active in Malkangiri Division.
Accurate intelligence output, precise planning and execution by a team of Special Operations group of Odisha Police, led personally by Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh resulted in the success of the operation.
On January 9, 2011, eight Maoists were killed at Basantmali in Rayagada district and the biggest hit on Saturday followed the recent successes of the Odisha police in the recent times. One month ago a divisional committee member (DCM) of Guma, Madhav was killed in an encounter and 35 members of the banned party, including five armed members, had surrendered during last four months.
Describing the action on that day to The Hindu, Mr. Akhileshwar Singh said that the 40-member SOG men started for Seelakota on Friday midnight and even as rain was lashing the area they continued to walk. They moved into the area from the village, split into three groups and circled the area, with the SP leading nine constables, where around 30 Maoists belonging to the Kalimela area committee gathered for a meeting about a kilometre from the village. This area was surrounded by hills on three sides. It was suspected that they were planning to gain area domination. This group was responsible for the killing of headman of Kothamateru village Eswar Sodhi on September 8.
Heavy rain seemed to have forced the camp’s sentry to leave his place and all the 30 Maoists huddled at one place and when the police warned them to surrender, the Maoists fired at them and the police retaliated. While 13 were killed a DCM Rakesh and some others, who were under a tent at some distance from the other group of Maoists managed to escape. This tent was not visible to the police party, explained Mr. Akhileswar Singh. If the Maoists were not killed, they would kill us, he added.
The presence of Rakesh was noticed after recovering his dairy from the spot, the SP said. None of the 13 bodies have been identified as yet. The bodies along with firearms, land and claymore mines and other material were at present on the premises of the SP’s office here. The woman Maoist’s identity was not established yet but she was suspected to be Kukmari of Suvvi, a member of the central regional committee-I of the Maoist party. One person who does not belong to Seelakota village and found near the site of incident was taken into custody.
The dead Maoists appeared to be Girijans, belonging to Khoya tribe. The SP said Rakesh, a resident of Chattisgarh, is active in Kalimela area. He was a member of a five-man action committee, disbanded after Akash its leader had surrendered. Rakesh, along with other members Manoj , Anand and Nagesh were taken into the Kalimela AC. But the whereabouts of the last three are not known. Rakesh, as action committee member was involved in the killing of two persons in Malkangiri district, a home guard in Koraput and an intelligence police constable in Visakha Agency area.
Mr. Akhileswar Singh said a villager of Seelakota is an active party worker but he was not visiting the village at present. He and the police party urged the villagers to impress the Maoists among them to surrender. Seelakota, where the Maoists enjoy a lot of support, is tense now and villagers are not willing to talk any outsider, according to reports reaching here.
Director General of Police Prakash Mishra and other senior officers, who airdashed to Malkangiri on Saturday, returned to Headquarters on Sunday.